About play

All about play

About play

What is play?

Play can be difficult to define because it’s a mix of many different types of behaviour and interactions. Play can involve other people and objects. It’s what children do naturally when adults aren’t organising their time.

How can you recognise play?


  • Is fun
  • Is uncertain
  • Is challenging
  • Is flexible
  • Doesn’t have to have an aim.

How do children play?

Play is what we call any behaviour or activity that children start, control and organise themselves. It happens whenever and wherever there is an opportunity.

  • Children choose when, how and what to play
  • Children decide the rules and roles they take when they play
  • Children play because they want to - not for any reward, prize or status.

Children will often play independently, whatever their age. But from time to time your child may ask you for ideas. This section of the website has lots of suggestions.

Your child’s play will change as they grow and develop new skills. So we have information here about the different ways your child might choose to play at different stages of their childhood. We also have some simple ideas for getting involved with your child’s play.