Fair Play for Children — Play Organisations

Jan Cosgrove
31 min readJan 26, 2018







Association of Play Industries

UK commercial playground manufacturers’ and installers’ Association.

Campaign of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees promoting sport and play amongst refugee children

Adventure Play Website

An internet resource for those interested in and passionate about adventure play. The origins of adventure play are unique and amazing but so too are its early pioneers, Carl Theodor Sørensen, Lady Allen of Hurtwood and many others.

Albion Kids Show

children aged between 0–18 can learn through safe, exciting, stimulating and imaginative activities. Our fleet of specially adapted vehicles and trailers enable us to take play opportunities into the child’s own environment. We set up in estates, parks, a variety of community facilities and other unusual places.

Association for Play Therapy

PT promotes the value of play, play therapy, and credentialed play therapists by advancing the psychosocial development and mental health of all people and sponsoring and supporting those programs, services, and related activities that promote the: Public understanding and appreciation of play and play therapy Effective practice of play therapy through research, education and training, and support Recognition, incorporation, and preservation of diversity in play and play therapy Development and maintenance of a strong professional organization that satisfies this mission

British Toys & Hobbies Association

UK commercial toy and hobby manufacturers’ Association.

Children’s Links

Our Mission “To improve the life quality and experiences of children, young people and their families.” Our mission is based on the beliefs that: All children and young people have a right to good quality play, the right to express views, and have them heard and the right to active participation in the community It is our aim to ensure that whatever the family’s choice the child’s experiences are of good quality Good partnership working can achieve more.

Children’s Play Policy Forum

The Children’s Play Policy Forum brings together leading play agencies, government departments and other bodies to focus on play within the broader scope of national policy The forum aims to: advise government on play related policy advocate for play and develop coordinated policy responses identify research and highlight good practice lobby government to achieve full implementation of Article 31 of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.

Child’s Play

Child’s Play is a Seattle based, gamer-run organization that holds an annual toy drive for childrens’ hospitals. Many of the gifts donated by gamers are, as you might imagine, age appropriate videogames and gaming systems — but they are by no means the only things donated. We received eager donations of coloring books, art supplies, crafts, movies, cartoons, virtually anything a young person could ask for. We asked the world-wide community of gamers, and they gave so much we had to move to larger storage facilities three separate times.

Crawley Venture Play Service

Four adventure playgrounds run by Crawley Borough Council. “All of our adventure playgrounds have plenty of indoor and outdoor play space. Inside you will find pool and table tennis tables, computer games and well equipped art areas.”

Crumbles Castle Adventure Playground — Facebook site

Crumbles Castle is an adventure playground and a registered charity in Kings Cross. Built in 1973, it is a stone castle with an adventure playground round it, and is a landmark of great significance to many local people.

Early Arts

An exciting network that supports the training and development of people working in the arts, cultural, early education, childcare, family, health and social care sectors. Early Arts members believe in upholding and celebrating the rights of children by embedding a playful learning culture in our educational, social and cultural settings.

Early Arts

Earlyarts is the award winning, national network for early childhood educators who believe in nurturing their children’s creativity

East African Playgrounds

East African Playgrounds is a UK registered charity that aims to change the lives of children across East Africa by developing children’s learning opportunities and environments. We work alongside local communities to build simulating and exciting playgrounds, run arts and games programs as well as developing long term employment and training opportunities for young people across East Africa.

Empowered by Play

An excellent US-based site on all issues to do with Play and Childhood.

Fair Play for Recess — North West Arkansaw

Fair Play for Recess is an organization advocating the importance of playtime in the school day. In recent years a widespread trend has seen the amount of time devoted to recess shrink to nothing or almost nothing in many schools. We believe that time to play and to socialize is a vital part of childhood. We feel this way for developmental reasons, because free play permits children to flourish as people, because breaks during the day allow children to concentrate more effectively during class time, as well as out of simple fairness. Children need time that belongs just to them.

Freeplay Network

The Free Play Network is a network of individuals and organisations, which aims to promote the need for better play opportunities for children.

Give Us back Our Game!

We are concerned that the beautiful game is in decline. Football for children is now very different from earlier generations when the only adult involvement was a call from your mum that your tea was ready. Football is no longer beautiful for our kids anymore: it’s ugly.

Go Play!

We build playgrounds where there are none and we work with others to do the same…

Hampshire Play Network

Facebook Page of Hampshire-based organisation promoting Play

Home Zones

is an idea to create safer street environments, compatible with children’s play, and has been developed by a consortium of organisations such as The Children’s Play Council, Transport 2000 etc. The original idea came from Rob Wheway, Fair Play’s Freedom to Play coordinator who helped extensively with the development of this idea.

Hong Kong Playwork Association

Hong Kong Playwork Association (HKPwA) is the leading play service provider as well as reputable training body providing an insight into industry standards with expert advice from professional playworkers, along with a set of recommendations, key priorities and principles for the development of future approaches and directions to improve the quality of play in Hong Kong in the 2020.

Horniman’s Adventure Playground

We are an open access Adventure Playground and play centre providing a service available to school aged children in Kensington & Chelsea, London, aged 5–16 years.

How Learning Comes Into Play

IPEMA, the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association

provides 3rd party Product Certification services for U.S. and Canadian public play equipment and public play surfacing materials in the U.S. We service IPEMA-certified member companies, affiliated playground industry groups and anyone with an interest in playground equipment regulations.

Islington Play Association

For several decades the Islington Play Association has been working to improve children’s lives and life chances. We recognise that play is not the same as adult leisure — it is vital for children’s health and well-being. We believe that the ability of children to play is a litmus test for the quality of life for everyone.

Italian Playbus Association

The Italian Playbus Association — English version available

Ithaca Children’s Garden

Facebook page, US


KaBOOM! is a national (US) non-profit dedicated to bringing play back into the lives of our children. We passionately believe that play has purpose, and we are driven to create a movement in support of this belief.

KIDS Playwork Inclusion Project

Playwork Inclusion Project PIP offers strategic development, information and guidance to authorities and settings on inclusive play and childcare, including: National Inclusion Forum – disseminates good practice on inclusion Publications and Briefings — around the issue of inclusive play and childcare PIP Network News – bi-annual newsletter, disseminating good practice National Inclusive Play Network — KIDS host the National Inclusive Play Network which hosts termly network meetings and seminars.

Leeds Play Network

Offering you a range of services specifically designed to enhance play opportunities for children, based around outdoor play and risky play elements. We provide a team of highly skilled playworkers who facilitate play experiences enabling children to engage in a variety of play opportunities. Our modules include: Den building, go-kart building, Playing with the Senses, Playing with the Elements, Messy Play, Circus Skills, Music Making. Bespoke training and/or sessional options can be prepared for your individual needs (see Workshops and Play Sessions). Training Workshops aimed at people working with children who would like to increase or improve the play opportunities offered within their setting/scheme.

London Play

We aim for every child in London to have high quality, accessible and inclusive play opportunities. We campaign for more and improved play spaces and services, and support play work in the capital.

Love Outdoor Play

Love Outdoor Play is led by Play England and supported by the Free Time Consortium, a growing collective of local and specialist organisations working together to increase freedom to play.

Manchester Play

Dedicated to those involved in providing children in Manchester with somewhere to go and something to do in their free time.

F Mansfield Play Forum

We are a voluntary organisation who have promoted, developed and supported play in the Mansfield area since 1985.

Meriden Adventure Playground Chelmsley Wood

Facebook page, UK

Mudchute Park and Farm

Where is Mudchute? Mudchute Park and Farm is located in the middle of the Isle of Dogs. We are easily accessible by road from the A13 following the signs for the Isle of Dogs and then take the A1206 towards Island Gardens. Look out for the Pier Tavern on the right (the second Pier Street). Alternatively take the environmentally friendly route on the Docklands Light Railway, alighting at Mudchute station and following the long path from the Park entrance to our horse-riding arena. The main courtyard containing the Mudchute Kitchen and the Farm entrance is next to the arena. What it’s about Care for the environment is at the heart of all we do at Mudchute. We have a wonderful 32 acre site which is open to the public and has fantastic views across London. In partnership with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets we preserve the open space and make it available for events, community groups or just your simple family picnic. And where else do you get to share your lunch with friendly fur and feathered creatures.

National Association of Hospital Play Staff

The charity aims to promote high professional standards for play staff, and to ensure the provision of appropriate therapeutic and stimulating play facilities in hospital. NAHPS provides professional support for all hospital play staff.

National Association of Toy & Leisure Libraries

A UK-based voluntary organisation promoting the concept and good practice of Toy and Leisure Libraries

National Federation Of City Farms

The Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens exists to support, represent and promote community-managed farms and gardens across the United Kingdom.

National Recreation and Parks Association

USA: NRPA is the leading advocacy organization dedicated to the advancement of public parks and recreation opportunities. Founded in 1965 through the merger of 5 national organizations dedicated to the same cause, NRPA has grown over the years — in total membership, in outreach efforts, in building partnerships, and in serving as the voice and defender of parks and recreation.

New Parks Play Association Leicester

New Parks adventure playground is an open access play facility; there are playworkers on site and present to supervise and assist children/young people, however one-to-one support cannot be provided. Parents/carers are welcome to attend alongside children/young people who require this level of support.

Newcastle & North Staffs Play Council

Newcastle & North Staffs Play Council is a registered charity promoting play as an educational, recreational and social activity for all children, including specific needs, aged from birth to fourteen years across North Staffordshire. We also act as a training agency, information and resource centre for those working with young people. The Play Council since its move to new premises at The Children’s Centre is able to provide training with co located crèche facilities. A meeting room is also available for other organisations both voluntary and statutory.

Peaceful Playgrounds

School Playgrounds that Work! The purpose of the Peaceful Playground Program is to introduce children and school staff to the many choices of activities available on playgrounds and field areas. US-based.


PLAY AUSTRALIA promotes the value of play and advocates healthy play opportunities for children and the community throughout Australia.

Play in Schools Association

This site is an on-line resource for teachers, parents, school staff and governors of primary schools in Nottinghamshire. The site aims to bring together useful information to help develop play opportunities within a school.

Play Link

A multifaceted independent play and informal leisure consultancy working in the areas of design, planning, policy, strategy, local engagement, fund raising and organisational development.

This is a comprehensive list of links to mainly US-based play-related organisations. The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is a non-profit association that provides leadership and resources to grow the specialty toy industry. It is the largest association serving the specialty toy industry. ASTRA members build their businesses around specialty toys, which generally are designed with a focus on what the child can do, rather than what the toy can do. In other words, our members’ products are about the features of the play more than the features of the toy. Our more than 1400 members include: Locally-owned independent toy and children’s products retailers Specialty toy manufacturers Manufacturer’s representatives Industry affiliates Suppliers and service providers Book stores School Supply stores Gift stores ASTRA was founded in 1992 for two simple reasons: To strengthen the part of the toy industry that is committed to providing children with healthy, quality play materials that have high play value

Play Providers Association

The Play Providers Association (PPA) represents the highest quality indoor play centres in the UK. We aim to PROMOTE, DEVELOP and PROTECT the interests of all businesses engaged in providing enclosed play facilities and encourage childrens physical activity through play.

Play Right / Chwarae Iawn

Play Right is the voluntary sector’s Play Association for Swansea, & Neath Port Talbot which was established in 1999. It has developed many different services during this time responding to the needs of local communities and play providers. Play Right promotes best practice and partnership working to improve outcomes for all children and young people, particularly those aged 5–15 years.

Play Safety Forum

The Play Safety Forum is an independent forum hosted by Play England as part of Play England’s work to research, develop and advocate effective policies and good practice for play provision.

Play Strategies

Use the map to find play strategies in each region. See what your local authority’s play policy is. Or if they have indeed put one online.

Play Therapy for Children

Children who have experienced considerable change in their lives or who have survived traumatic events need to express and understand their feelings. Through the therapeutic use of play, children are given the opportunity to express their feelings naturally, and safely, thus enabling the healing process to begin.

Play Work South East

Covering Kent, East and West Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire.

Play-based Classroom



A moderated discussion list, for Fair Play related issues. The Web site gives details of the list currently available and instructions on how to join a list.


My Goal I want my kids to play outside with other neighborhood kids every day. I want them to create their own games and rules. I want them to play big, complex games with large groups of kids, and simpler games one-on-one with a best friend. I want them to decide for themselves what to play, where, and with whom. I want them to settle their own disputes with their friends. I want them to create their own private clubs with secret rules. I want them to make lasting physical artifacts that show the world that this is their place. I want them to laugh and run and think. Every day.


PlayEducation has provided state of the art play and playwork training and education for playworkers, childcare and early years workers, environmentalists, scientific professionals, architects and parents in locations as diverse as Northern Ireland, Japan, Wales, USA, Scotland, Argentina, England, Australia, the Republic of Ireland and Portugal.

Playground Fun

A site for children, parents and teachers — games children can play. Playground fun is commissioned by Culture Online (part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport) working with the British Council and produced by Learnthings Ltd.

Playground Ideas

A great collection of images from a group constructing playgrounds in various locations using e.g. car tyres etc

Playground Ideas

US based. PlaygroundIDEAS is a not-for-profit organization that designs and builds play spaces for the world’s most disadvantaged children. We operate with the help of international volunteers and funders, to help organizations and individuals create quality playgrounds for children all over the world. We do this because we recognise that while education is vital for all children, they need more than just a classroom to learn and grow to their full potential. Play is essential for children’s development, and it forms a fundamental part of a well-balanced educational curriculum. We believe play need not be a luxury. Disadvantaged children need the opportunity to learn and play in a safe, educational, and fun environment — just like any of us would want for our own children.

Playground Safety Guide

Whether it’s a scraped knee, or worse, injuries can be prevented on the playground with a little preparation and know-how.

Playing Out

A UK Play Street initiative

Playing Out — activate Street Play in your neighbourhood

Playing Out is a not-for-profit information and advice resource for street play. We aim to increase children’s safe access to informal play in residential streets through: Directly supporting resident-led street play sessions; Running workshops for parents and residents; Coordinating a network of ‘street organisers’; Providing free resources and advice; Training play/community professionals; Communicating the benefits of street play; Working with policy-makers to enable street play. We hope you find this website helpful


PLAYLINK is a multi-disciplinary grouping working to improve people’s — children, teenagers, adults — experience and enjoyment of the outdoors. We work across a variety of settings: general public realm, parks, social and mixed tenure housing, and specialist provision such as schools and children centres.


Playright seeks to enrich the life of every child through quality play. We make a difference in the lives of children by encouraging them to play. We further seek to demonstrate to parents, teachers, policy makers and the public at large that quality play is vital if the full range of the child’s developmental and other needs is to be successfully met.


A Blog About Playground Design. Because it’s difficult to find non-commercial playground information. And I find that frustrating. Because a playground doesn’t have to cost a million bucks and come in a box. In fact, it’s better if it doesn’t. Because playgrounds are under-recognized as an artistic medium.

Playwork Partnerships

Playwork Partnerships, based at the University of Gloucestershire, is best described as a “networking organisation” and is currently made up of the following components: University of Gloucestershire Playwork Learning & Skills Playwork Projects Our mission is to enrich children and young people’s lives through their experience of quality play by: promoting the importance of play and playwork and increasing the learning opportunities for playworkers

Playscapes Blog

Because it’s difficult to find non-commercial playground information. And I find that frustrating. Because a playground doesn’t have to cost a million bucks and come in a box. In fact, it’s better if it doesn’t. Because playgrounds are under-recognized as an artistic medium. Because everybody loves a playground.

Policy for Play

Blog by Adrian Voce OBE

PopUp Adventure Play

AT POP-UP ADVENTURE PLAY, we imagine a time when all children have access to child-directed play in communities of supportive adults. Grounding our work in our Pop-Up Adventure Playground model, we work internationally, providing children of all ages and abilities with opportunities to recognize, explore, and express their natural play instincts… on their own terms.

Portland Children’s Museum

A Museum That Doesn’t Act Like A Museum The Portland Children’s Museum is the museum that doesn’t act like a museum. You won’t find any velvet ropes inside, and playing with and touching our exhibits is strongly encouraged. We’re also home to the Opal School and the Center for Children’s Learning. Opal School is a public charter elementary school and tuition-based preschool. The Center for Children’s Learning is an ever-expanding research institute that guides the development of the Museum and Opal School curriculum.

Re:Play — the play association of the South East

Re:Play is committed to creating a workable play infrastructure for the GO-SE region of the South East of England.


An imaginative response to play design issues. Worth a view!

Right to Play UK

Right To Play uses specially-designed sport and play programmes to improve health, build life skills, and foster peace for children and communities affected by war, poverty and disease. Working in both the humanitarian and development contexts, Right To Play has projects in more than 20 countries in Africa Asia and the Middle East.

RoSPA — Play Safety

The Play Safety site of RoSPA provides information on playground management and the safety of indoor and outdoor play areas. The Playground Inspections link explains the public services we provide for public and commercial play areas. The information sheets provided cover all aspects of playground safety and can be viewed on-line or downloaded. We also have a list of helpful publications to aid in understanding and maintaining play safety.

Sandwell Adventure Play Association

Sandwell Adventure Play Association is a Voluntary Organisation and Registered Charity dedicated to providing quality, supervised children’s play and childcare to children and their parents/carers in many of the neediest areas of Sandwell.

Scarborough Playgrounds

Scarborough Playgrounds has been set up to visually show all the free outdoor play area’s for children in the scarborough area. You will see a map showing each of the parks in the Scarborough area, click one one of these and you will be shown further info.

Shiremoor Adventure Playground Trust

Facebook page of North Tyneside project

Solidarity Sports

Solidarity Sports is a charity focused on bringing sport to BME’s, refugee groups, and young excluded people to build social cohesion and community spirit. We believe that Sport can be used as a tool to break down social barriers and encourage a shared sense of belonging in impoverished communities. Our slogan is: Connecting Communities Through Sport’

Stockholm International Toy Research Centre

A research center at Halmstad University with the aim of establishing a foundation of multiple research on toys and educational media. SITREC works in cooperation with a network of toy researchers, toy manufacturers organizations and authorities across the world to increase progressive research on toys.

Thames Valley Adventure Playground und

Since 1982 the Thames Valley Adventure Playground has provided a chance for children & adults with all types of special need to enjoy the fun, freedom and friendship afforded by the opportunity to play and share experiences in a safe and stimulating environment, with users travelling from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, London and beyond.

The Association for Play Therapy

The Association for Play Therapy (APT) advances play therapy, the means by which licensed mental health professionals better communicate with and help children and other clients obtain optimal mental health.

The Association for the Study of Play

TASP is a multidisciplinary organization whose purpose is to promote the study of play, to support and cooperate with other organizations having similar purposes, and to organize meetings and publications that facilitate the sharing and dissemination of information related to the study of play. TASP publishes a regular, extensive newsletter that includes book reviews, research updates in different disciplines, and other information. In 1998, TASP began to publish an Annual Volume of Play and Culture Studies.

The Institute for Sport, Parks and Leisure

Aim to provide support, advocacy and professional development for those involved in the sports, parks and leisure industries.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

Adults have an important role in promoting and facilitating children’s play as a vehicle for learning. Developmentally appropriate practice (DAP), an approach to early childhood education based on research in human development and learning, incorporates play among other strategies.

The National Children’s Football Alliance

To get more boys and girls actively playing football. To secure for them the most enjoyable, developmental and child-centred football experience when they do play. To create playing environments and formats which allow children to reach their full potential in football. To eliminate the factors which cause boys and girls to drop out of football.

The National Playground Safety Institute

NRPA is the leading advocacy organization dedicated to the advancement of public parks and recreation opportunities in the USA.

The Nature of Play

Blog: The Nature of PlayKidsafe WA’s Playground Advisory Service provides advice and assistance to playground designers, managers and users in Western Australia. We can undertake comprehensive playground safety audits as well as provide general playground advice. We also offer workshops for community groups and professionals on playground ideas and safety.

The Playtime! Project

There is much research which demonstrates the benefits of playtime in schools and the importance of free play at playtime. This form of play has been found to increase physical health; improve resilience in children; help children to develop social skills, improve attention and learning in the classroom, contribute to brain development and much more. Here is a selection of some of the freely available research.

The Serious Road Trip

A children’s project operating in areas such as Bosnia, Romania, Chechnya etc.

US Play Coalition

The US PLAY Coalition is a partnership to promote the value of play throughout life. The first play movement started the early 1900`s. Now, given the many problems with obesity and other social ills that have occurred with the erosion of play opportunities, it is time to begin the second great play movement.

Voice of Play

The “Voice of Play” website is IPEMA’s effort to educate the general public, parents, teachers, and organizations such as PTA, PTO and community groups about the various benefits of play. Playgrounds and playing help reduce childhood obesity and have many different social, cognitive and emotional benefits.




Jan Cosgrove

National Secretary of Fair Play for Children, Also runs Bognor Regis Herald online. Plus runs British Music Radio online