S&SR Environment and Spaces Group Publication


The MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit of the S&SR Environment and Spaces Group “Change in use of green and open space following COVID-19 lockdown ‘stay at home’ phase and initial easing of lockdown” publication is now live on the MRC website.







Playful Schools: The power of Loose Parts Play

Playful Schools, a partnership project delivered with Scrap Antics has demonstrated that outdoor, free play is crucial to children’s mental health and wellbeing and provision of free play opportunities within the context of Covid-19 is entirely feasible.

Find the report here – https://www.playscotland.org/resources/playful-schools-the-power-of-loose-parts-play/



Covid-19 and Children’s Play – update 2 September 2020

Play Scotland is a member of the UK Children’s Play Policy Forum which has commissioned this COVID 19 and Play analysis and update. Information on the COVID 19 virus and its direct impact on children’s health and indirect impact (physical, mental, social) via curtailment of play outdoors is accumulating as research continues. The findings include concerns about the risks to children from outdoor play deprivation.

“Experts in child development and child psychiatry agree that children are experiencing multiple harms as a consequence of play deprivation. There has been a failure to properly assess the risks of collateral damage to children and adolescents.” 




IPA Covid Report: Play in Lockdown

An international study of government and civil society responses to Covid-19 and their impact on children’s play and mobility

The report gives international data on Covid19 pandemic control measures and their impact on outdoor play and mobility, and calls for greater attention to children’s rights. The main finding is that country responses have varied hugely. In quantifying this, the report unveils a new indicator of the severity of national lockdown measures, (the ‘Child Lockdown Index’). The home nations are in the middle of the range when it comes to their CLI – see Figure 1 on page 6.




Indoor activity guidance

Re-opening of unregulated indoor children’s activity

Scottish Government’s message on guidance:

Schools and regulated ELC are beginning again from 11 August and we are receiving queries about whether other indoor activity may resume at the same time.

The answer is that indoor activities for children and young people which are not overseen by a regulator should not start again until agreed guidance is in place.  Unfortunately, back to school does not mean back to normality and for now, ensuring that the transition back to school is successful is our top priority.

For now, activities for children and young people under the age of 18  should continue online or outdoors in line with existing guidance. 

We know that these indoor activities are of huge value to children, young people and families across Scotland and our ambition is to get them open soon as soon as this is deemed appropriate.  We will provide further information about timing with additional guidance where this is necessary.



Guidelines for unregulated, informal play services

“Given the importance of play to children’s health and wellbeing it is vital through this crisis that all children and young people can regain access to play opportunities in a range of settings which offer variety, adventure and challenge.”

John Swinney, MSP, Deputy First Minister

Play Scotland is pleased to release Guidelines for unregulated, informal play services which are intended to support the play sector as they consider resuming outdoor organised activities. We hope to be able to release further advice and guidelines over the coming weeks.

Play Scotland Guidelines for Services



Is It Right To Take Your Kids To The Playground Now It’s Allowed?

Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine and expert in infectious diseases based at the University of East Anglia, says it’s important to remember the risk of children contracting the virus is minimal – particularly outdoors where there’s better ventilation, and the virus can be killed by UV light. Read more here:




Playful Schools – building resilience through play

Play Scotland is delighted to announce the launch of its new project, Playful Schools, in partnership with ScrapAntics, supported by the Wellbeing fund.

Play Scotland, ScrapAntics and Dundee City Council have a proven track record of working together to support play in Dundee. The Playful Schools project will work with local partners including the Children and Families Development and the Community Learning and Development team at Dundee City Council, to deliver weekly loose parts play sessions through the hubs and understand the impact of this form of play on children’s wellbeing. All activities will be adapted to respond to the changing phases of the Covid-19 crisis.

Play Scotland, through the Playful Schools Project will:

i. Work with ScrapAntics to develop and deliver a creative and flexible model of loose parts play taking account of Covid-19 restrictions to provide play sessions in the Dundee Community Support Hubs over the summer. These will:

  • Provide an alternative, strengths-based learning environment for children
  • Increase physical health through enabling access to outdoor play opportunities
  • Encourage children to re-engage with children-led, unstructured learning activities
  • Enable children to work through their emotions through physical activity
  • Support staff in the hubs by providing alternative resources
  • Provide opportunities for socialisation and relaxation

ii. Create a customised resource pack to support children’s mental health and well-being in partnership with Dundee City Council. Drawing on the Play Scotland Home play pack (almost 25,000 packs already delivered in 31 local authorities), we will develop a resource pack to support the health and wellbeing of children, and provide play resources that will engage children and support their transition to school.

iii. Build a new model based on a robust evaluation of Playful Schools to allow the model to be used in settings across Scotland, including the development of a Handbook, Risk Benefit Assessments and case study. The evaluation process will focus on creating a new model that can be implemented across Scotland. We will measure incremental improvements in the support already provided by the Hubs and will develop clear indicators to assess impact of the intervention on the mental health and well-being of children.