Simply Play – Playspace Evaluation Tool

Simply Play is a freely accessible tool, developed as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Sheffield Hallam University and Timberplay designed to help anyone evaluate the Play Value within any space. Through the completion of a 32 question survey, anyone involved in the development of a play space can gain greater understanding of where it already succeeds in delivering play value, and what areas need development to make it a more effective and stimulating space.

What is Play?

Play is freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated. Play can be a way of approaching an activity rather than the activity itself, a way of behaving as differentiated from the behaviour itself. Based on the work of Sutton-Smith, Kane states that “Play is an attitude before it is anything else”.  Play is multi-dimensional. It is physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual. When we observe play it is tempting to focus on the more easily quantifiable physical aspects, in particular when looking at how space supports play. It may be that culturally we are more comfortable at looking at these aspects of play or have more language to communicate the physical dimension but play expresses and supports dimensions (physical, emotional, mental social and spiritual) and each should have equal value.

Why Play?

Play is the means by which children communicate with and experience the world. It is vital to the healthy development of the child helping their body and brain grow in flexibility and adaptability. It is how we learn about our environment and develop our mechanisms for survival. The impulse to play is innate and supports the healthy development and well-being of individuals and thereby communities.

What is Play Value?

Play Value is the opportunities offered by an object, exchange, experience or environment for an individual or groups to immerse themselves in Play.

What is Playable Space?

Playable space is any space that supports the play process. If, as Hughes states, play spaces are increasingly seen as compensatory spaces for the reduction in children’s natural play habitat, it is important that as much space as possible becomes playable and that the playability, or play value, of that space is as high as possible.

Want to find out more?

To find out more about this ground breaking initiative please contact Beth Cooper or click the button below to take the survey.


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