Play & Leisure

A child's main occupation is play. It is through play that children learn and practice new skills, make friends and find a sense of self.

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Play and Leisure

A child's main occupation is play.  It is through play that children learn and practice new skills, make friends and find a sense of self.

There are a number of different ways to think about and define play.  Play can be broken up into a number of types:

Explorative Play

Children explore the world through play.  Through exploratory play they learn about the world and the effect they can have on the environment. 

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Functional/Manipulative Play

Children learn about objects and their use through functional play.

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Active/Energetic Play

Energetic play supports the development of your child’s motor skills and helps them to become healthy fit adults.

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Social Play

Social play supports children to learn how to communicate with others. 

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Pretend Play

Through pretend play children learn to express themselves and practice adult and cultural roles.

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The Scottish Government

In June 2013, the Scottish Government launched Scotland's first national Play Strategy.  This strategy was built on the views of children and young people, parents and carers, the play sector and others involved in children's wellbeing.

Play encompasses children's behaviour which is freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated. It is performed for no external goal or reward, and is a fundamental and integral part of healthy development - not only for individual children but also for the society in which they live.
- Play Strategy for Scotland 2013
Play Strategy for Scotland 2013

Play Strategy for Scotland 2013

(1.5 MB)

If you would like to read this document please download here

Download report

NHS Health Scotland

NHS Health Scotland have published three books to encourage parents to establish good exercise habits and setting the foundation for learning throughout life. 

Each book has a programme of play activities for babies and young children which will help your child's development and well-being. There are three books available:

The books are issued free of charge to all parents with children under 5 years within Scotland.  For further downloadable activities sheets from NHS Health Scotland click here.

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