The What of Play

What can play look like?

So we created the What of Play

toto show families what to look out for when they join their child’s play.

Scroll down to see our example play observations linked to the Early Level Curriculum.

Realising the Ambition:

A young child’s voice is interpreted by our observations of their actions, emotions and words.

These observations are central to assessment and inform us what children need.

Education scotland, 2020

This I Spy toolkit will help you to understand your child’s:


To cover:

  • movement & coordination
  • confidence, creativity & curiosity


To cover:

  • wellbeing (including self, social, emotional and communication)

Play Scotland’s Toolkit

A new ‘I Spy tool’ will be introduced each month.

March’s focus resource is Play Scotland’s Play Toolkit which introduces the different types of play children experience and their vital contribution to learning and development.

Play types are the different behaviours you can look out for when your children are playing.

Coming Soon

Family friendly versions of the following tools will be coming soon, including example observations so you know what to look out for!


Realising the Ambition is Scotland’s national guidance on play in the Early Years from Education Scotland. It introduces schema, which are repeated patterns of behaviour that you might spot when your child is playing.

Leuven Scales

The Leuven Scale is used to check in on your child’s ’emotional well-being’ and ‘involvement’ as they play. Both of which are important for your child’s learning and development.

Outdoor Learning

David Sobel offers a set of 7 play themes to improve outdoor play.

Your child’s meaningful connections with nature don’t begin in the Rainforest or Arctic, but in your own gardens and communities.

Characteristics of Effective Learning

Within the Early Years there are three different ways that children learn, by:

  • playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’;
  • active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying even if things are difficult, and enjoy their achievements;
  • creating and critical thinking – children have their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

Building Resilience

The Building Resilience programme can help your child to develop the skills they need for mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing now and in the future.


If you have any suggestions for resources you would like to feature in our Sharing the Ambition I Spy toolkit, please get in touch.

Next Up: I Spy 16 Types of Play!

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