External Links: outdoor play

Muddy Faces is all about getting outdoors with your groups, families and friends. The outdoors is the perfect setting for child-led, exploratory play.

We have compiled a list of interesting & inspiring websites on outdoor play, including the main governing bodies, national organisations and initiatives – many are directly related to working & playing outdoors, some have a wider remit or are included because we think they may be helpful to know about.

Click on a tab to see the links in that section.

We do our best to keep these links up to date, but policies and focus in this area often change. If you find any broken or outdated links or have something you think should be added, please email share@muddyfaces.co.uk with ‘links’ in the subject line. Thank you.

Council for Disabled Children

Helping disabled children & those with special educational needs (SEN) to have full, happy childhoods, fulfil their potential & be active within the community. Good resources & help section.

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Go Kids Go!

Free courses to equip young wheelchair users with the skills to become independently mobile so that they can enjoy the same activities as their able bodied peers.

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Inclusive Play: resources

Useful articles including finding funds for inclusive play spaces and  Top 5 Inclusion facts and checklist.

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US project advocating for play opportunities for all. “Cities need … family-friendly, kid-friendly environments that promote play everywhere.”

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Enabling children with special education needs & disabilities to enjoy their lives & achieve their ambitions, and provide support and guidance to their families.

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Single Parent Action Network

Campaigning for one parent families from diverse backgrounds and cultures living in poverty and isolation. Also a great parenting section  – lots of resources & info.

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Sense: the case for play

Results of a 2015 public inquiry into the provision of play opportunities for children aged 0-5 with multiple needs in England and Wales. Plus Toolkits for Inclusive Play.

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Early Childhood Education

Dedicated to exploring how babies, pre-schoolers and young children learn, their developmental and learning processes and how we can help them to develop their mental, physical and emotional skills in a fun and enjoyable manner.

Early Childhood News

For teachers & parents of children from infants to age 8 years. Info on development & benefits of play, activities & ideas, classroom ideas, teacher resources etc.

Early Education

The British Association for Early Childhood Education. National charity supporting Early Years practitioners with training, resources and professional networks campaigning for quality education. Very useful free resources.

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Early Learning HQ

Home to thousands of free downloadable KS 1 & early years resources for teachers, parents & professionals – search ‘outdoor’ for lots of ideas, activities, articles & news.


Early Years

Promotes and develops high quality, evidence-informed early childhood services for young children, their families and communities in Northern Ireland.

Early Years Matters

High quality training, information and services on issues that affect young children’s learning and development.

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Foundation Years

Brings together information from many sources to help you support children to develop and flourish, focusing on the importance of child development and pedagogy.

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Kids Development

Covers the physical, emotional, social and intellectual development of children from birth through to their teenage years.

Pre-School Learning Alliance

Membership organisation offering training, publications, family learning programmes, info & advice to professionals & parents, and campaigning to positively influence childcare policy and practice.

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Deep Fun

‘The virtual library of fun-provoking articles by Bernard Louis De Koven.’ Exploring adult playfulness. Lots of funny games (suitable for all ages) and loads of other interesting stuff.

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Fun & Games

Hundreds of ideas for children and the young at heart – a massive repository of games for virtually any occasion, including traditional and contemporary group or playground games.

New Games

New Games are cooperative group interactive games that are played just for fun, even when there is competition. Free New Games Starter Kit and other resources.

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New Games Foundation: a history

An interesting history about the movement which began in the USA in the 1970s.

Non-Competitive Games

A slideshow on the subject, from the Montessori perspective – theory and game suggestions.

Parachute games

These sites all have good tips and/or lists of parachute games – Early Years Careers, PHE America, Play Parachutes, Teaching 2 and 3 year olds and Youth Work Practice.


How to skip, traditional skipping songs and rhymes, tricks, benefits of skipping, clubs, workouts and more!

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World Conker Championships

How to play conkers – rules, techniques and how to cheat!

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Anti-bullying Alliance

“Together we can stop bullying and create safe environments in which children and young people can live, grow, play and learn.” Free training & resources.

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BAPT British Association of Play Therapists

Promoting the art and science of Play Therapy and promoting high standards in the practice of Play Therapy for the public benefit.

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Child Accident Prevention Trust

Reducing the number of children and young people killed, disabled or seriously injured in accidents. Advice, resources, campaigns.

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RoSPA Play Safety

Advice and information, resources, sample policies & risk assessments, to do with play safety in and out doors.

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Play 4 Life

Play resources to encourage children to get moving, including outdoor play booklet. Part of Change4Life.

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Play Day: first Wednesday in August

As well as a celebration of children’s right to play, Play Day is a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children’s lives. Resources to run your own event.

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Playwork Partnerships

Enriching children’s and young people’s lives & supporting their wellbeing through play – lots of resources and training plus info on outdoor play and play rangers.

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Right To Play

Using the power of play to educate & empower children and young people all over the world – specially designed games provide disadvantaged children with a quality education, positive health practices & conflict resolution skills

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Care Inspectorate – my world outdoors

Resource which aims to support all daycare services across Scotland deliver more outdoor play to youngsters. Examples of outdoor-based childcare and play, and policies re risk etc.

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Department for Education

Government department responsible for education and children’s services in England.

International Play Association

Protect, preserve and promote the child’s right to play as a fundamental human right.

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Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services & Skills – inspects & regulates services for children & young people, and services providing education & skills for learners of all ages.

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OPAL Outdoor Play and Learning CIC

Works with schools, early years settings & organisations to improve the quality of outdoor play for children. Lots of useful free resources. “We create happier playtimes, better play spaces & enable staff to support outdoor learning”


Out of School Alliance

Provides information and support to individuals and organisations setting up and running out of school clubs, including breakfast clubs, afterschool clubs, holiday clubs and playschemes.


Playboard NI

Independent charity & lead organisation for the development & promotion of children & young people’s play in Northern Ireland. Loads of stuff on policy & play, for practitioners and parents.

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Play England

Aiming for England to be a country where all children and young people can fully enjoy their right to play. Research & resources, training & events. Campaigns include Play Day (first Wednesday of August) and Love Outdoor Play.

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Play Scotland

Promoting the importance of play for all children and young people, and campaigning to create increased play opportunities in the community. Loads of great resources.

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Play Wales

Raise awareness of children & young people’s need & right to play and promote good practice at all levels & in every place children might play. Useful resources on philosophy of play & playwork.

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Scrapstores UK (Reuseful UK)

Businesses donate waste that can be reused for creative art materials. Community organisations get it at low cost. Find you nearest Scrapstore & read the Benefits of Scrap Play.

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Action for Children: things to do with your child

Inexpensive & easy activities you can do with your children. including den-building and play in the great outdoors. Activity pack to download.

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Happy Hooligans

Lots of low-cost and free ideas and activities, including sections on outdoor play, messy & muddy play and water play.

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Let The Children Play

Link to the facebook page: Their mission: ‘To learn and grow as teachers by sharing inspiration and information about early childhood education and play based learning ideas.’

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NWF: connecting kids with nature

‘The National Wildlife Federation, America’s largest and most trusted conservation organization, works across the country to unite Americans from all walks of life in giving wildlife a voice.’ Their Green Hour program aims to encourge everyone to  ‘adopt a goal of an hour per day of time for children to play and learn outdoors in nature.’ Check out the Green Hour tips and resources.

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Nature Play Activity Recipes

Great resource of ‘recipes’ to use to explore nature and help children experience the benefits of connecting with the natural environment through play. Includes active, building, cooking, creative and messy recipes! From Play England.

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No Such Thing As Bad Weather

Popular and inspirational blog from a pioneering early years practitioner espousing the benefits of outdoor play & learning.

Play Outside!

Collecting the best ideas for outdoor play and spaces from around the blogosphere. From Let the Children Play.

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Playing Out

Encourages and supports street play across the UK. How to’s and kits, research and articles, manuals and documents, inspirations and ideas.

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Rain or Shine Mama

Great blog with tons and tons of content about how your child can be, play, create, learn and benefit from being outdoors and find a connection with nature.

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American Journal of Play

Forum for discussing the history, science & culture of play. Aims to increase awareness and understanding of the role of play in learning and human development and the ways in which play illuminates cultural history.

British Adventure Play

A reference and history of the origins and aims of adventure play.

Common Threads

World-wide community of 10,000+ playwork practitioners, trainers, development and support workers, authors, academics and theorists which exists to promote playwork theory and practice.

Community Playthings: learning library

Loads of great learning resources, case studies and articles on outdoor, creative and open-ended play from this site selling play equipment.

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First Discoverers – playing & learning outdoors

Range of guides and articles on benefits & theories of outdoor play, and planning your outdoor time.

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FIT Fields in Trust

Defending access to free, local outdoor space for sport, play and recreation. A huge range of information including: Research reports and Guidance for Outdoor Sport & Play. Have a Field Day to #LoveYourLocalPark on 6 July.

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Free Play Network

Independent voice for play. ‘We believe that children have a right to play & that play should be free for all. We aim to bring together everyone who values play.’ Inspiring online photo exhibition of play places across the world.

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IPA Declaration of the Child’s Right to Play

‘Originally produced in Nov 1977 in preparation for the International Year of the Child (1979)… should be read in conjunction with Article 31 of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that the child has a right to leisure, play & participation in cultural & artistic activities.’

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Jan White: Natural Play

Very experienced, skilled and passionate practitioner and author on working outdoors with young children – research, articles, courses and more.

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Managing Risk in Play Provision: implementation guide

How play providers can replace current risk assessment practice with an approach that fully takes into account the benefits to children & young people of challenging play experiences. From Play England.

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Outdoor Matters from Gail Ryder Richardson

Experienced early years practitioner promoting the importance of the outdoor environment for young children’s play, learning & development.

Play Link

Independent play consultancy working in design, planning, policy, strategy, etc to address the policy & practices that affect planning & delivery of the best possible play opportunities. Articles on risk, play equipment, play strategies etc.

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Cutting edge play and playwork training and education for playworkers, childcare and early years workers, on the practice and study of playwork from academic and play practitioner Bob Hughes.

SkillsActive: playwork national occupational standards

‘Playworkers can use these standards to compare their performance to nationally developed benchmarks of good practice & to be clear about what they need to achieve. Playwork organisations can also use them to inform the deployment of playworkers & playwork specific training & education.’

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Play Providers Association

Representing indoor play centres in the UK.

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Association of Play Industries

Trade body representing the interests of manufacturers, installers, designers and distributors of both indoor and outdoor children’s play equipment and play area surfacing.

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Federation of the European Play Industry

Representing European manufacturers & distributors of outdoor & indoor play equipment and safety surfacing – aim to ‘raise awareness of the importance of children’s play for the wellbeing of children at a European level.’


Federation of Sports & Play Associations

The voice of the UK sports and play industries – support, promote, represent & lobby.


PACEY Professional Association for Childcare & Early Years

Promote best practice and support childcare professionals to deliver high standards of care and learning.

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Register of Play Inspectors International

Ensuring playground safety for all types of play areas and equipment through registration & accreditation of playground inspectors.


Sand Play Therapists of America

Promoting education, training and research in sandplay therapy. An international meeting ground for the exchange of knowledge and experience in sandplay.

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