Active/Energetic Play

Children learn about how the body works and moves through energetic play.

Click on the sections below for quick access to each area or scroll down the page to see all the content.

Active/Energetic Play

Children learn about how the body works and moves through active and energetic play.  They learn to run, jump, throw & catch and kick.  It can include mastering ball games, playground equipment, going on a scooter, riding a bike etc.

Active and Energetic play develops into sporting, fitness and exercise activities used for leisure and pleasure for young people and adults e.g. football, rugby, tennis, swimming, dance and martial arts etc.


Individual Activities

Individual active and energetic activities can be really helpful for building self esteem.  You only have to compete against yourself! 


Team Sports

Team sports are a great way to stay healthy while developing social skills.

Ball Skills

Ball skills are a very complex set of skills to learn.  Children who find ball skills difficult need lots of practice so vary the activities you try so that they don’t get bored.  Always finish on a positive note with them having some success to avoid frustration.  You might need to make the activity easier to allow them to succeed.



Children learn best when they participate in activities that are just the right challenge, not too easy or too difficult.  You can grade ball skills activities by: 

  • Starting with activities where either the child or the ball are static (e.g. throwing, catching or kicking a stationary ball on the spot) and then move to activities where both the child and ball are in motion (dribbling a football).
  • Use items other than balls for throwing and catching e.g. bubbles, balloons, scarves.  These also fall more slowly so are easier to catch.
  • Try soft air filled balls with a bit of “give” e.g. a beach ball.
  • Start with big balls and heavy bean bags and work towards lighter smaller balls.
  • When using targets, start big and work towards smaller targets.
  • Start by standing near the target or each other and then increase the distances involved.
  • Start with the ball moving slowly then increase the speed that the ball travels at.

Click here for activity ideas

Strategies for Learning to Ride a Bicycle

The following strategy may help if your child is having difficulty learning how to ride their bike. The following technique takes time, but the idea is that your child gets a sense of achievement from mastering each step one at a time. 


General Advice

  • Always follow general bike safety rules when teaching your child how to ride e.g. practising in a quiet area, wearing a helmet, bike reflectors etc.
  • Ensure your child has totally mastered one step before moving onto the next.
  • Grass is not good as it is too soft and makes pushing harder.
  • Getting good cycling weather will impact on how long it takes your child to learn to ride!
  • Take time to help the child practice and reinforce the skills. 

You will need:  

  • A bike
  • A helmet
  • A shifting spanner

1.   Lower the seat so the child can sit comfortably with both feet flat on the ground.

2.   Remove both pedals.

3.   Using a flat surface in a safe area e.g. a playground or quiet car park, get your child to propel themselves forward using a walking movement with their feet.

4.   Tell them to keep their arms fairly rigid and to look where they are going.

5.   When your child has mastered steps 3 and 4, get them to propel themselves forward using both feet at the same time (whooshing along like a skier!)

6.   When the child is competent, practice on a safe hill or a slope in a park.  As they achieve, gradually increase the distance the child goes down the slope.  Encourage them to rest their feet on the frame of the bike.

7.   Get your child to practice stopping the bike by braking and putting their feet down at the same time.

8.   When the child is freewheeling down the slope and stopping in a controlled manner, put the pedals back on.

9.   Repeat steps 6 and 7, with the child resting their feet on the pedals this time.

10.  Introduce the pedalling action.  If the child has difficulty with moving one foot then the other (reciprocal movement), try taking the pedals off and repeat step 5, but moving one foot then the other rather than both together.

Click here for more information

Learning to Skip

Children learn to jump before they can hop or skip.  Skipping is a difficult skill to learn.  It involves the legs and arms performing different tasks at the same time.  Rhythm and timing are extremely important.  Some children find it easier to learn to skip on the spot while others find it easier to learn to skip on the move (e.g. like they are walking).  Try both to see which your child finds easier. 

Children learn best when they participate in activities that are just the right challenge, not too easy or too difficult.  Below are some activities you can try.  Try to do them in the order that they are presented in as this will make it easier, but if your child easily achieves one task, move onto the next one.  

Click here for activity ideas

Keeping Active

Keeping physically active brings many health benefits. For children, regular physical activity is important for growing up to have strong bones and muscles, maintaining a healthy weight and building their confidence. Click on the links below for ideas of keeping active:



Find activities in your area:





A Local Information System for Scotland (ALISS) helps signpost people to community resources and enables communities to contribute information about the resources they have to offer e.g. places, groups, activities, opportunities, events, services.  Have a look on their website to find a local resource near you.

Hoop is a FREE app that makes it easy to find and book activities going on in you local area for children aged 0-11 years old.

Inclusive Parks Scotland

This report was produced by Play Scotland in support of playful families and the Play Strategy for Scotland, valuing play, every day ©2019
Author Sarah Goldsmith


Dear Parents and Carers
This report has been compiled to give you easy access to information about the inclusive nature of parks across Scotland. We hope this will enable more children with disabilities to access and be included in opportunities for play, as well as provide more opportunities for disabled and non-disabled children to play together.

This report is in two parts:
Part 1 is a summary of key findings across Scotland and includes tables with details of the parks which are fully inclusive, working towards being fully inclusive, and staffed provision.
Part 2 is an overall summary of the parks in each local authority, the types of inclusive equipment they contain, any details about toilet and changing facilities and any relevant parking information.

There is also a map on the Play Scotland website.

This information was correct as of August 2019. However, we recommend that you contact the local authority before visiting a particular facility, as access to specialised equipment and toilets with specific changing facilities may require making arrangements in advance.

This report will be updated annually. As well as asking local authorities to update their information, we will be happy to receive comments and photos from you after using the

Yours playfully,
Play Scotland

Include Parks Scotland (2019) Report