Creative play opportunities are critical for the healthy development of a child. Children learn social skills, practice modelling behaviours, solve problems, learn how to share, adapt to different roles, as well as many more essential skills when learning through play. 

Younger children learn motor skills through play. The ability to distinguish between soft and hard, sharp and blunt, and even hot and cold; all develop through play. Children who experience fire for instance, gain a heathy appreciation of fire, but children who do not experience fire, are more likely to mishandle fire when they get older.

Older children develop social skills (the ability to interact) through play. Children who are prevented from playing with other children are at risk of having a reduced capacity to relate to other people later in life.

Play is undoubtedly one of the most important factors in child development 


E Book "The Environment of Play" by John Mason


first published by Leisure Press in New York. Over 300 pages; now available through our bookshop on CD.




Improve your understanding of childhood play by studying Play Leadership with ACS Distance Education.


DURATION: 100 hours


To develop knowledge and skills related to the planning and leadership of play activities, principally for children, but also for other ages.


There are ten lessons in this course, plus one special project, as follows:

1          Understanding Play

            To explain the purpose of play in the cognitive, physical and social

            development of a child

2.         Leadership Skills

            To determine the skills required to carry out a play leadership role in different


3.         Planning Play Programs

            To develop a plan for a supervised children’s play program.

4.         Child Development through Play

            To develop a basic understanding of the impact of play upon the

            psychological development of a child 

5.         Play Safety

To determine appropriate measures to take to protect a child’s safety when at play, while minimising any interference which might diminish the quality of the play experience.

6.         Physical Play

To develop an understanding of options for physical play activities, including games and sports, in a supervised play program.

7.         Social Play

To develop an understanding of options for social play activities, in a supervised play program.

8.         Adventure Play

To develop a basic ability to plan, establish and manage a supervised adventure playground.

9.         Play Apparatus

To develop an ability to evaluate a range of different play apparatus, including playground structures, toys, sports equipment, commenting on quality, safety features, appropriate applications and cost benefit.

10.              Activities

To broaden your scope of opportunities that can be offered for children to play, appropriate to a wide range of different situations.

11.              Special Project


Talk to someone involved in play leadership. You might talk to a kindergarten teacher, a primary school teacher, a local council recreation officer, someone from a playgrounds association, etc. Find out what they do, and how they do it? What type of programs do they run, etc?

Visit an agency or organisation of some sort that is involved with play leadership provision (eg. a play group, kindergarten, recreation centre, day care centre, etc).

Write a report on your visit.

Consider how are they organised? How many staff do they have? What is the purpose of the agency, etc?

Playleadership  (click for details)


Related Course:   Playground Design (click for details)