Natural Play Project

Scotland, 1 June 2012

Most children spend at least 2000 hours of their life in a school playground, probably more than in any other outdoor play setting. Despite this, many UK schools do little to create the kind of rich play environments and experiences that we know are important for children. 

In other parts of Europe, play is viewed as a crucial aspect of school life – and their playgrounds and play practice are radically different from what we know here in the UK. Our new series of case studies on the school playgrounds of Berlin demonstrate a wide range of inspiring and creative approaches to making play a fundamental aspect of children’s school experiences. You can also see some of these German playgrounds in use in our short film here.

With support from Inspiring Scotland, our 2-year natural play project worked with 8 Scottish primary schools to explore whether some of these ambitious European-style ideas could be adapted to a UK context and to assess what the benefits of this approach might be for children. 

We discovered that these ideas can be successfully implemented in UK schools and that pupils, teachers and parents are overwhelmingly positive about the benefits for children and school life. Find out more about these approaches, the practicalities of making them work and the many benefits for children through:

  • Our project film, which tells the story of 3 of these schools 
  • Our project evaluation report, which provides more details of the approach we took, the lessons we learned and the impact of these projects on children and schools
  • Advice on having sand in your school grounds.
  • Case studies of 7 Scottish schools that have implemented natural play concepts.


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Grounds for Learning

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