Topic outline

  • General

  • Welcome to the virtual learning environment for play@home


    play@home is a physical activity programme for children from birth to five years. The programme consists of three illustrated books which are issued in all Health Board areas to parents at birth, age one and age three.  It is a universal programme guides parents on aspects of care and development to help give their child the best start in life, improving skills for parenting and supporting positive mental health. The Programme provides information that is delivered as a first tier of universal support for parents. It provides a foundation on which additional support can be built where needed. Additional targeted support is provided to vulnerable families.

    The material is used under a copyright agreement and therefore is only available in hard copy.



    If you give the play@home book with a verbal message about the benefits of play with children it is more likely that parents and carers will use the ideas in their play@home book.

    How do I get copies of play@home Books?

    play@home books are free of charge to parents across Scotland. Copies are provided by NHS Health Scotland to each Health Board.  Baby and toddler books are distributed through the NHS resource centre and the pre-school book distribution is varied across the country but mostly through staff in the Local Authority. Details of local contacts can be found here

    Do I need special training to give these books to parents?

    No, the information on the preceding sheet should be sufficient to give you an understanding of the programme in case parents ask questions about this programme. There is gifting advice that we have to help pass on the key messages when gifting the books to parents.

    Do I need to keep a record of who I give a book to?

    This will be decided locally.  A tear-out registration page is included in the book and if a record is to be kept, you will be advised by the person you received the books from.

    What play@home resources are available?

    Training Resource Trainer Inserts


    Activity cards

    Song books

    play@home leaflet

    Fun for free poster – baby, toddler, preschool

    For other enquiries around alternative formats and hard copies please contact:

    • Further play information

      Evaluation of play@home

      Impact evaluation, Mercer& Grainger, Rush & Law, 2011

      Qualitative evaluation of implementation of play@home , Amers J & Macgregor A, Leithal Thinking, 2012

      Evaluation of the reach of play@home , Jopling M & Vincent S, University of Wolverhampton, 2014

      Play policy links

      Play Strategy Scotland 

      Local Play Strategies: Glasgow City, Highland, Midlothian, West Lothian


      Briefing papers

      Briefing on Play (Nov 2013)

      This briefing paper on play is for professionals and front line staff who are responsible for delivering play opportunities to children. It aims to increase understanding and provides evidence about the benefits of play in children’s development. It covers the following:

      • What is play

      • Why play is important

      • Barriers to play

      • The play environment

      • Promoting play



      NHS Health Scotland are no longer to provide play@home training for trainers, however we still have various trainers throughout the country that are running training throughout the year. We are very grateful to all those who have been able to deliver training to colleagues. 

      • Useful links

        Start active, stay active: report on physical activity in the UK

        Start active, stay active: infographics on physical activity

        UK-wide report with guidelines on the frequency and type of physical activity required to achieve general health benefits.

        Children and Families – Scottish Government

        Latest news, consultations, policy updates and guidance for Scotland.

        Play, talk read

        To promote easy, fun ways to promote children to be happier, learn and enjoy a better start in life.


        Sharing stories, songs and rhymes with your child has many wonderful benefits. Bookbug gifts book bags to every child in Scotland and run free song & rhymes sessions across the country.


        Inspiring Scotland want every child in Scotland to have the opportunity to play.

        Play Scotland

        Promoting the importance of play for all children and young people, and campaigns to create increased play opportunities in the community.

        Place Standard

        The Place Standard tool provides a simple framework to structure conversations about place.

        Care Inspectorate

        Recognises the benefits of accessing the great outdoors and aims to make a positive contribution to the further development of outdoor play as part of early learning and childcare in Scotland.

        Outdoor and Woodland Learning 

        Increasing the use of Scotland's outdoor environments for learning.

        Gaelic songs and rhymes for parents

        The website for parents and children interested and involved in Gaelic education, which has games, stories, audio and much more to help you enjoy the experience of learning Gaelic, whatever your age or ability.

        The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)

        Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland

        Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

        • Contact for further information

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