Playful Communities

As a society we need to encourage children and young people to spend time outside and to start exploring the fantastic and often wild and open space which Scotland has in abundance, be it in the local town, city or countryside. Children playing outdoors is something we want to see happening much more in all outdoor places including green space, parks and streets that are valued by the community.

Outdoor play doesn’t necessarily mean visiting the local play park, sometimes it means playing kerby on the street or investigating local wildlife. The beauty of outdoor play is more than appreciating your natural surroundings and breathing in fresh air, it’s on your doorstep, it’s free and all children and young people can get involved – regardless of their background, gender, age, stage or ability, together with the whole family.

Scotland’s Play Strategy Outcome:  All children and young people have sufficient time and space (physical and social) for playing within their community and have contract with nature in their everyday lives.  Play is valued, encouraged and supported in communities, as are providers of community play opportunities such as out of school care, playgroups, therapeutic and specialist settings and community champions of play.

Scotland’s Play Charter:  By signing up to Scotland’s Play Charter you are supporting the right for children to play in the community and become a Play Champion.  You can find full details here.

Scotland’s Play Strategy Impact:  More children will be playing more often in outdoor places including green space, parks and streets.  Careful consideration will have been given to the planning and design of public spaces, and children and young people will be able to find clean, safe and welcoming spaces to play and gather near their homes where they are not considered a nuisance by others in their communities.


Play Builds Children
– Children’s Play Policy Forum Statement
February 2019

The Children’s Play Policy Forum has issued a policy statement identifying a crisis in childhood and calling for more children’s play opportunities. 

CEO of Play Scotland Marguerite Hunter Blair welcomes the policy focus on children’s mental health and wellbeing in Scotland and said: “Access to play is a social justice issue that has to be addressed, particularly for the children whose right to play is most vulnerable. We know that play is a life-enhancing experience and that play builds children’s capacity to thrive despite adversity and stress in their lives. More time, space and local planning is needed so that children from all social, cultural and economic backgrounds can play, everyday.”

There are huge benefits to be gained when sufficient time and space is available for children to play every day. These benefits contribute to the prevention of the prime issues of health, mental health, obesity and school exclusion – key issues in need of urgent resolution. Play builds happy, healthy children.  

Download the statement: Play Builds Children CPPF Statement 2019

Download the evidence base:


The Play Map

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 the communities.

The Play Map aims to support CPPs to:

  • Commit to principles which support the child’s right to play
  • Provide leadership through developing strategic priorities and appointing Play Champions
  • Listen to children, young people, families and communities so their views inform CPPs
  • Map existing provision and explore gaps in current services and opportunities
  • Consider effective approaches to developing plan in communities and share effective practice
  • Review play’s contribution to CPPs locality plans.

Link to document


PDA in Strategic Planning for Play

The Professional Development Award (PDA) in Strategic Planning for Play is a new continuing professional development (CPD) qualification that will help organisations to deliver the Scottish Government Play Strategy, which aims to promote and improve play and play spaces for children and young people in Scotland. 


Playing it safe? – A global white paper on risk, liability and children’s play in public space

Available data suggests that playgrounds are comparatively safe places – yet, in many countries, concerns about potential liability for injury have led to bureaucratic risk reduction initiatives that might not do a good job of weighing the risks against the benefits of encouraging more adventurous outdoor play.  Full information can be found here.


Noticing Nature Report


Noticing Nature Report