We work in disadvantaged communities, focusing on enhancing children’s learning, development and access to education through play. We take an innovative child-centred approach to education and use the power of play to transform the lives of children through our play programmes.
We work with some of the most vulnerable children and communities in the world, supporting children living in extreme poverty and those experiencing danger, displacement, conflict and natural/humanitarian disasters.
We work with children, parents, caregivers, teachers, community leaders and NGOs to highlight the importance of play and enable them to integrate play-based initiatives for enhanced education, health and development outcomes.
From Educational Play Teacher Training to our Hygiene Heroes programme, you will be amazed at the far-reaching impact play can have.
A Safe Space to Play
Play Action International was born out of children’s need to have a safe place to play and develop. Our programmes began with the design and construction of playgrounds at schools, which then evolved into supporting teachers to use the playground as an educational aid and enhance learning through the integration of play within the classroom. Our playground equipment is holistic, targeting the different areas of a child’s development in fun and innovative ways, and each playground is led by community design and built by local people using local materials.
In direct response to the impact of COVID in Uganda’s refugee settlements, Play Action International has conceived the ‘Hygiene Heroes’ play-based training programme for early years children.
The training programme incorporates a series of learning sessions based around effective health and hygiene practices: handwashing, understanding of COVID, and wellbeing/mental health techniques to help children deal with the direct and indirect impacts of the virus. At each ECD centre we will also install our innovative child-friendly handwashing units and provide a supply of soap and high-quality cleaning products to ensure units remain stocked and well maintained.
Play in Schools & at Home
Our Educational Play programmes build the capacity of caregivers and teachers to implement play-based approaches in their teaching. This includes how to use easy-to-find materials and the natural environment as well as the playground to help children learn in a more interactive way. When a child engages with play, their learning is deep-seated and more exploratory, meaning that they will retain the knowledge for longer and have a better understanding of the concept being taught. Our Educational Play programmes are proven to have a positive impact on learning, behaviour and school attendance.
The Play Bus
The Play Bus is a mobile play-based educational resource, enabling us to bring our range of programmes to children in disadvantaged urban areas, where there are no safe spaces to play. In particular, the Play Bus offers children living in slum communities an interactive opportunity to escape the dangers of their environment and experience a safe space to play, learn and develop.
Loose Parts Play
Loose Parts Play is a type of play which supports invention, divergent thinking, problem solving and offers a sense of wonder to children. It is a label given to any collection of natural or man-made materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways to expand upon children’s play. We are working with Nüdel Kart to bring their incredible deconstructable mobile play cart to Uganda and the UK, providing disadvantaged children with new skills and infinite play possibilities.
How well children are nurtured during their first 1,000 days has a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn and thrive. Our home infant Play Kits are an invaluable way to support vulnerable parents to bond with their children in their early years as well as to promote the right of a child to play and learn.
We also provide our Play Kits to Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres and Primary Schools to enable teachers and caregivers to encourage play-based activities through which child development and learning outcomes are enhanced.
Play for Life
Working in partnership with SALVE International, we provide former street-connected children with the life-changing opportunity to undertake our intensive apprenticeship scheme in our workshop in Jinja, Uganda. Our young apprentices learn welding, prefabrication, and playground installation, as well as other practical, transferable skills including entrepreneurship – setting them up for a financially sustainable life.
Mobile Play Worker Network
We are in the process of developing a nation-wide network of volunteer mobile playworkers to provide play sessions in child-centred places such as libraries, nurseries and primary schools. The sessions will be delivered using the award-winning Nüdel Kart, a creative play cart which can be used by up to 30 3–12-year-olds both indoors and outdoors. The kart’s 200+ loose parts can be reconfigured in endless ways by children and encourages self-directed learning and development. These sessions will stimulate children’s STEM learning, creativity and 21st century skills development, through play.
Play Action Academy
Building on our successful work training and supporting Play Workers to use play to enhance children’s lives in their own communities, we have coined the Play Action Academy. In 2021, we will be launching our very own training academy which will operate both online and in person in the developing world. The Play Action Academy will provide training to professionals in emerging nations to use play to support children’s health, education and wellbeing.