Category Archives: Research

ScreenShot Mondays – The UK’s Birds of Play

A couple of Mondays per month, PlayGroundology screenshots a cyberspot that focuses on playgrounds, or play. I hope readers dive in and explore. Even if you’ve seen the selection before, take a moment and check to see what content has been added recently.

Think of this as a very slow stumble upon, an invitation to relish something new or to revisit an old friend. Some of the people and places may be household names in the world of play and playgrounds, others not so much. I hope all will pique your interest in what they have to offer and further your own possibilities for playfulness.

Play England

This week’s edition of ScreenShot Mondays features four, count them, 4 brilliant UK play organizations. Together with communities and constituents they do so much in the name of play. They are involved in research, policy development, promotion and advocacy. They’re the best friends play could ever have.

Be sure to check each group’s resource section. There are some great treasures to discover.

Playboard Northern Ireland

From my vantage point across the pond, I see these UK organizations as birds of a feather, birds of play so to speak. With the magic of social, we’ve got them flocking together right here at PlayGroundology.

Play Wales

Each of them has got amazing work on the go. This past summer, Play Wales hosted the International Play Association conference. Check their site for insights from play leaders.

Play Scotland

None of these organizations do it alone. They play well with others, they collaborate, they share and they engage with other organizations, individuals, the larger civil society and of course with kids….

We’re fortunate to have groups like these managed by dedicated staff and volunteers.


Play England
Playboard Northern Ireland
Play Wales
Play Scotland

Play England and Demos go Policy Wonking in the Real World

Play is to children as breathing is to life.

However, the management of public space is not always conducive to muscle twitching outdoor play. There’s competition too – all screen and no play make little Jimmy and Jenn dullards. What’s a responsible and compassionate society to do?

Gathering the facts for evidence-based decision making is always a good place to start to help inform public policy deliberations. Back in 2007, Play England did just that with the release of Seen and Heard: Reclaiming the public realm with children and young people.

The pamphlet was researched by Demos, a British think tank “driven by the goal of a society populated by free, capable and secure powerful citizens”. Researchers undertook a literature review and carried out case studies in six communities with children between the ages of 6 and 18.

Although the findings are specific to England, the study’s recommendations are worth a close look by parents, advocates and play professionals in other countries. The final work was not limited to the printed page. The video distills and compresses while encouraging those with an interest in the subject matter to go deeper. And what’s more, there was a public performance in the streets immediately outside the venue where the study launch took place – play within play. Artists Tuur Van Balen and Revital Cohen put on the ritz for the lords and ladies in the name of play.

If you’re already familiar with this pamphlet, please excuse this johnny come lately. But if like me, you’re seeing it for the first time, then get ready for an informative and thought provoking read. Hit the share buttons and give it good word of mouth.

Thank you to Play England, Demos, Joost Beunderman, Celia Hannon and Peter Bradwell for producing the study and publishing it under a generous open access licence.


Playgrounds of the Future – BBC News Magazine, November 14, 2007.

Children’s charity warns that Government cuts to play will harm children – National Children’s Bureau, March 10, 2011.