How can I help address inequalities and support play in 5-8s?

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Key messages for parents, grandparents and other care-givers

Those who care for children can be encourage to support play in 5-8s through promotion of the following key messages:

  • Parents should play with their children (on their terms) as much as possible.
  • Parents should encourage outdoor play.
  • Parents should limit screen time (using video games, watching television, using the internet) in favour of outdoor play and play with friends.

Read about the benefits of active play in our sections on physical activity and child healthy weight.

Please also see below for further resources.


Primary school teachers are in a unique position where they can professionally assess the development of children and assist parents to help their children achieve their potential.

The Curriculum for Excellence for the Early Years (external link) is centred on learning through active play.

In addition:

  • Encourage active play at break times and out of school by teaching a variety of games.
  • Give access to play equipment, balls etc. at break times.
  • Involve parents by updating them on their child's play-related activities.
  • Emphasise the benefits of active play to parents.
  • Be sensitive to the child's home situation and the capabilities of parents.
  • Create opportunities for parents to become involved with in-school activities such as fun days and school sports.
  • Raise any behavioural problems you encounter with the child's parents.
  • Refer early for assessment for additional support for learning if you suspect developmental problems.

Health visitors, social workers, GPs, practice nurses

Emphasise to parents and carers the need for all children to play and the benefits of play to their continued physical health and healthy growth and development.

Service managers and commissioners and voluntary sector workers and managers

Service managers and commissioners can help to create opportunities for play by incorporating play spaces and time for play into their services, service environments and public spaces.

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