Play Strategy Action 6.3 Play in the Home

A study of information, messages

and resources available to parents

and carers in Scotland for cost

effective play in the home.

Executive Summary

Border Crossing Media was appointed in April 2014 by The Play Strategy Implementation Group to deliver evidence to better inform and shape the development of action 6.4:

'Develop user friendly guidance for parents and carers on how to access cost effective resources for play in the home.'

The aim of this report is to share the findings of the desk based research that investigated and reviewed the range, quality and accessibility of information and messages available to parents and carers.

Field work took place between the 1st of May 2014 and the 13th of June 2014. During this period over 300 sources from 134 public and third sector organisations were reviewed. Of these 166 were deemed in scope of this project and logged on the data sheet. Due to time constraints other sector organisations were not reviewed.

Key Findings

  • The 166 resources that were logged showed a wide range of advice and activity information for a variety of family groups.
  • Whilst the information was generally universal and could be applied to all families and in most cases adapted to a child's individual needs there were also examples of resources developed specifically for a target segment.
  • 76 resources were delivered on a national level and 90 resources were delivered locally across 18 council areas.
  • The majority of resources are in written format and can be found online. This introduces a risk to more vulnerable segments of society without access to the Internet or with low reading skills to be excluded. However there is evidence that access to this information is often provided by a support or health worker provided by a public or third sector organisation such as Children 1st, NHS Scotland, Sure Start etc.
  • There is a heavy bias to resources and information available for parents and carers with children under 5, with their being roughly the same number of resources for the age group 0-5 as there is for 6-18.
  • The majority of information and advice to parents with children 14-18 is focused on negative behaviour such as substance abuse, under age sex, bullying etc. There was a lack of information and advice on interacting positively with your teenager.
  • In general the clarity and accessibility of the language used in the resources was excellent although some feedback from other studies conducted directly with parents suggests that some of the resources could be simplified to be more inclusive.
  • There was a lack of consistency within the messaging for national services and resources across different regions with some positioned locally and some positioned nationally which can be confusing.
  • The majority of resources were supplied as English only but 5 did offer different languages and 16 of the resources offered more accessible versions (e.g. large print, braille etc). The mapping study by Children 1st suggests that whilst most resources do highlight that other versions are available most have different versions available upon request.
  • 162 out of 166 resources were free for the parent to access (not including access to the Internet). The four paid for resources were all toy library subscriptions.
  • 112 of the 166 resources were deemed as free for the parent or carer to engage in the activity. The other 54 resources all had a cost below £5.00 and so all these resources are very cost effective.
  • The majority of resources found could be used for all children and be easily adapted to individual child's development, including those with additional support needs. There were however 2 resources that required a large amount of coordination and/or physical activity that could not be adapted.
  • There were three resources found specifically for children with additional support needs for play in the home.
  • There was a good split of resources from the public and third sector organisations with some good cross-messaging and signs of collaboration between them.
  • The resources were delivered in a wide variety of media, however more could be made of audio and video content to increase inclusion.
  • There was a good split between advice and activity based resources across the age groups, irrespective of the volume found.
  • There were 14 local authority areas where no resources could be found that were delivered on a local level with rural and isolated areas being served less well in general than urban areas.
  • There was a clear duplication of messaging across organisations but only 5 clear cases of the same resources being used twice.

Key Gaps

  • There were no resources found that are directly targeted to kinship families on the subject of play in the home and other non-standard family types may not be receiving large volumes of information specifically targeting them.
  • The 14-18 year old group are not being served in a positive fashion with the majority of resources relating to this group being around stopping or preventing negative behaviour as opposed to providing help and advice on how to interact with them in a positive way.
  • There was limited usage of video and audio resources found relating to the topic of play in the home.
  • There are 14 council areas where information on play in the home could not be found on a local level.


Email: Dave Gorman

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