Play Strategy

Play Strategy Vision

We want Scotland to be best place to grow up.  A nation which values play as a life-enhancing daily experience for all our children and young people; in their homes, nurseries, schools and communities.

The Play Strategy: Our Vision (link)

Children’s play is crucial to Scotland’s well being; socially, economically and environmentally. Our people are our greatest resource and the early years of life set the pattern for children’s future development.

‘The experiences children have in early life – and the environments in which they have them – shape their developing brain architecture and strongly affect whether they grow up to be healthy, productive members of society’ (Harvard University, 2007).

Play is an essential part of a happy, healthy childhood and ‘when children play their brains do two things: they grow and the become organised and usable’ (Hughes, 2013). By investing in all our children and young people now we can strengthen their ability to achieve their full potential.

The Play Strategy: Action Plan (link)

The Action Plan supports Scotland’s first National Play Strategy by setting out what actions need to be taken, in the domains of home;nursery and school; community; and positive support for play to realise our vision for play.

Play is fundamental to a healthy, happy childhood and is essential to the social, economic and environmental well being of Scotland as a whole.

The Action Plan has been developed by the sector and there is a role for practitioners, parents and carers, politicians, planners and policy makers in enabling and supporting children’s play.


Play Strategy Publications

Scotland’s Play Charter

Scotland’s Play Charter.  It describes our collective commitment to play for all children and young people.

The Play Charter builds on the Scottish Government’s Play Strategy for Scotland and the Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) approach to supporting children, young people and their families.

The Play Charter is for all those with an interest in and responsibility for play. This includes service providers, professionals, elected members and community representatives as well as children and young people and their families.

Full details and how to pledge you support can be found here


Loose Parts Play – A Toolkit

The aim of the toolkit is that more children will have access to loose parts play and that adults in the play, early years and education sectors will feel more comfortable and confident about introducing loose parts play within their settings

Loose Parts Play A Toolkit pdf


Action 6.3 (Play Strategy for Scotland: Action Plan) Play At Home report, March 2015

Action 6.3 from The Play Strategy Action Plan.To investigate and review good practice in reaching all parents and carers with clear messages and guidance on cost effective resources and suggestions for play suitable for children of all ages, stages and abilities.To share knowledge of good practice amongst organisations and agencies which support families.

Play Strategy Action 6.3 pdf


Action 7.1 (Play Strategy for Scotland: Action Plan) Learning About Play report, 2015

On behalf of the Play Strategy Implementation Group, we examined the content of the main qualifications in Scotland, for those working in early learning and childcare, schools, out of school and holiday care services for children. We wanted to discover how much play is included from level 5 to post degree level, and to see if more coverage was needed.

We found that play in both the free and planned play sense is covered in every qualification to various levels. However, it depends on the choices the learner makes in terms of qualifications, and the options within them, to really learn about play. We found through interviews and the literature review that play could be better provided in schools, inside and outside the classroom.

We made recommendations to improve qualifications, to create better play opportunities in schools, to fund play research, including doctorates, and to address play and risk issues.

Play Strategy Action 7.1 pdf


Action 8.1 (Play Strategy for Scotland: Action Plan) Policy Mapping infographic,  2015

Play policy collation – providing an outline of the policy landscape as of April 2015.

Link to infographic –


Action 8.2 (Play Strategy for Scotland: Action Plan) Play Map Resource for Community Planning Partnerships, 2015

The Play Map has been developed to support Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) build play into their strategic plans. It will help CPPs deliver on their objectives to support the wellbeing of children, young people and their families across communities.

Play Map for Community Planning Partnerships pdf


Action 9.6 (Play Strategy for Scotland: Action Plan) Playing with Quality and Equality, Inclusive Play Review, November 2015

A Review of inclusive play in Scotland to identify

context, current practices, barriers and aspirations and to build the knowledge base which will inform implementation of the Play Strategy for all children.

Play Strategy Action 9.6 pdf


Play Strategy for Scotland: Evidence, Outcomes and Logic Models, November 2015

The purpose of this paper is to review the evidence of the benefits and outcomes of play for children, and to look at how these benefits and outcomes fit into the SHANARRI wellbeing framework and the Government’s National Performance Framework more generally.

Play Strategy Evidence Outcomes and Logic Models pdf


Action 7.5 (Play Strategy for Scotland: Action Plan) Play Outside Hours! report, 2016

The Use of School Grounds for playing out of teaching hours toolkit has been designed to help head teachers, parent councils and local organisations to work together to consider making school grounds available to local children out of teaching hours.

Play Strategy Play Out Of Hours Toolkit Action 7.5