Play is the heart of wellbeing

Play is the heart of wellbeing. This is especially true for children and young people, but sadly in Scotland play is largely dismissed as frivolous or marginalised. Up until now Play Scotland has relied on United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child to promote the Child’s Right to Play in Scotland.

Play underpins the four principles of the Convention of the Rights of the Child – non-discrimination, survival and development, the best interest of the child and participation. Play Scotland, members and supporters work to develop child-friendly communities in Scotland supported by play-friendly neighbourhoods where children can:

  • Meet friends and play
  • Walk safely in the streets on their own
  • Have green spaces for plants and animals
  • Participate in family, community and social life

With the support of the Minister for Children and Young People, Aileen Campbell, we are confident that the crucial contribution of Play to children’s health and wellbeing will be fully recognised in the new Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill.

Putting play at the heart of wellbeing guidance will ensure that the Child’s Right to Play is explicit within the duties on public bodies to work together to design, plan and deliver their policies and services to improve wellbeing and achieve resilience.
The new Scottish Play Certificate will be available later this year and is designed for professionals from a wide range of disciplines whose work impacts on the general context of play for children and young people.

Last year over 80% of children in Scotland said they wanted to play outdoors more than they already do. We as adults need to ensure that local physical and social environments are supportive of play and we need to work together to overcome the barriers to play. The National Play Strategy for Scotland will set high level goals for play. Play Scotland is working to ensure that these translate into community led local actions. Play is at the heart of improving health and wellbeing, how can we all improve the play experience for children and young people in Scotland?

Marguerite Hunter Blair
Chief Executive
Play Scotland