Playful Learning

Scotland’s Play Strategy Outcome:  All children and young people enjoy high quality play opportunities in stimulating spaces with access to nature, on a daily basis in school, nursery and early learning and childcare.

Scotland’s Play Strategy Impact:  All school staff, and early years practitioners will receive play training, as part of their initial education and career long professional learning.  They will have sufficient skills, knowledge and understanding of play to support play opportunities.  All schools and settings will have well designed, inclusive spaces for play which support high quality play experiences.  School grounds will be valued spaces for play in local communities.  Education managers and leaders in school and early years settings demonstrate their commitment to increasing and developing play opportunities and to supporting staff to do so through priorities in the improvement planning cycle, the ethos and community life of their establishments and their own professional learning and leadership activities.



Getting it Right for Play Poster



Outdoor Classroom Day 2018 – The Impact of Outdoor Learning and Playtime at school – and beyond

Project Dirt asked teachers who have taken part in Outdoor Classroom Day about the impact of taking children outdoors.

The results are encouraging as they show that there is a fast-growing number of schools worldwide that recognise how important outdoor learning and play is for children, teachers and whole schools, as well as parents and the wider community.

Key findings include:

  • 68% of teachers want more time for children to play outdoors
  • 87% of teachers want more time to take lessons outside.
  • One fifth (22%) of teachers told us that they have increased playtime since taking part in the campaign, and two fifths (44%) have increased time for outdoor lessons.
  • 97% of teachers worldwide believe that outdoor playtime throughout the school day is critical for children to reach their full potential.
  • 65% of primary schools globally get less than one hour of playtime (recess) a day and 12% get less than 30 minutes.
  • 88% of teachers globally said that children are happier after playing outdoors, and 89% said the same when they learn outdoors.
  • 79% of teachers globally said that the weather stops children playing outdoors.
  • 1 in 7 of respondents worldwide said that nothing prevents children from playing outdoors.

You can download the full report here


Outdoor Classroom Resources

Spending time playing and learning outdoors is essential for a happy childhood and helps children learn important skills for the future.
You can find a list of ideas for topics and lesson inspirations here


Explore Outside the Classroom – FREE download


Your Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to… Explore Outside the Classroom!

But BEWARE!!! This book will change FOREVER the way you see the outdoor world…

A treasure trove of inspirations that can take one lesson or inspire a much longer project, all that your class needs is this booklet, a pencil and some imagination. 

In this booklet you will find 10 fun and interesting Missions to complete outside the classroom.

This booklet is aimed at inspiration for all ages.

Click here to download


Sensory Play Solutions to Calm a Child down

These sensory solutions are based on sensory processing theory.  Anxiety and stress have been linked with an amplification of tactile or sensory defensiveness as stress is a behavioural response to environmental input*. Anxiety may be both a cause and an effect of the predominance of the protective system**.  Tantrums or meltdowns are outward demonstrations of the stress and anxiety within your child.  They are responding to their “fight, flight or fright” (sympathetic nervous systems) … their perceived reality.  Read more about tactile defensiveness and sensory processing here and here.  Full details can be found here 


A Froebelian Approach to Exploring Clay

Children are naturally drawn to malleable materials and clay is a wonderful resource with lots of potential. This pamphlet introduces you to exploring clay with young children. It explains how three-dimensional investigation with clay supports young children’s holistic development, provides practical advice on how to set up a clay area in your setting, and suggests how to develop children’s clay skills and interests.  You can download pamphlet here


A Froebelian Approach to Outdoor Play and Exploration

Play outdoors is a long–standing feature of early years provision. However, its quality can vary and for some children outdoor play means little more than time spent in a bland, plasticised, safety-surfaced play area with little contact with the natural world. Friedrich Froebel, a pioneering nineteenth century educator, had a very different concept, a garden for children which offered time and space for play and exploration in contact with nature. His vision is still vibrant and has increasing relevance for young children’s play and learning today.  You can download the pamphlet here

Lego Play Well Report 2018

The LEGO® ‘Play Well Report’ surveyed nearly 13,000 parents and children in nine countries to understand the state of play today and encourage discussion around its ongoing importance. 

The report reveals a strong link between the hours spent playing together and the happiness of families, with nine out of 10 families (88%) who play for five hours or more a week claiming to be happy, while, of those who play for less than five hours, only seven out of 10 (75%) say they are happy. 

Playtime is being squeezed however, with nearly a third (30%) of families spending less than five hours playing together every week. One in 10 (10%) play for less than two hours.

Full article here

Link to report can be found here



Articles for Interest

Outdoor learning: closing the attainment gap in primary schoolchildren in Scotland.  Research from Greenspace Scotland

This Research Note compares the performances of 71 primary schoolchildren carrying out curricular tasks in outdoor and indoor classroom settings. By observing, recording and analysing how the children performed in group activities taken from the Scottish curriculum, an evaluation could be made of the relative merits of indoor and outdoor learning.

Full details can be found here