Children and young people with physical disabilities are often reported to play less than their typically developing peers. Few studies explore the meaning of play from the child's perspective; this study carried out a thematic synthesis of the findings of qualitative studies about the meaning of play following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta‐Analyses guidelines. Methods: A search of CINAHL, AHMED, PsycINFO, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and ERIC was undertaken between September 2015 and March 2016. Qualitative studies exploring the meaning of play from the perspective of 0‐ to 18‐year‐olds with physical disabilities impacting function were included. Quality appraisal and thematic synthesis were undertaken in order to develop analytical themes. Results: Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria in part addressing the meaning of play for children and young people with physical disabilities. Synthesis of the findings identified 5 analytical themes: Play can feel both positive and negative; play can draw attention towards or awayfrom my disability; play is a social interaction; I participate differently to my peers, and needing help feels normal. Conclusions: The themes highlight the potential for play experiences of individuals with physical disabilities being overlooked by parents and professionals; further research is needed to explore play experience from these individual's perspective.