Creating a playful celebration

There are lots of ways to celebrate Playday. Whether you’re planning a large or small event, it’s important to think about the ‘play value’ of opportunities that you’re providing.

These top tips have been devised by Playday event organisers for Playday event organisers.

After your event, gather feedback from children, young people and parents to find out what they liked and use this knowledge to plan next year’s Playday.

Ask children what they would like at your event and then think about who might be able to help provide it. Local colleges and universities could help with sport, music or drama type activities. Local groups, for example cheerleaders, judo and five-a-side, could run free workshops in return for free promotion at your event.

Contact local businesses to fund or resource relevant activities.

Create atmosphere by hiring a karaoke machine, a DJ or a steel band and running drumming sessions with scrap instruments such as water containers and oil barrels.

Don’t pay for face painters, let children and young people do it themselves – it’s more fun for them and keeps down queues.

Encourage your local play rangers and forest schools to get involved in providing natural play opportunities.

How about a climbing wall, nets and ropes, water, sand, cardboard boxes, marbles, dressing up materials, chalk, bungee trampolines, climbing towers, skateboarding, water slides, feet painting, potato printing, den building, junk modelling, go-karts, soft play or obstacle courses.

Hang hammocks between trees to provide sheltered chill-out areas or pitch tents and tepees.

Invite people from varied backgrounds to your event. The more diversity, the more ideas for your day.

Look into using areas of land other than parks. Private landowners such as wildlife trusts and the Forestry Commission might partner up to host your event. To contact the Forestry Commission of Scotland, click here. To contact the Natural Resources Wales, click here.

Make activities inclusive so there’s something for children and young people of all ages, abilities and cultures.

Play with the elements – build fires and bake bread or roast marshmallows.

Provide everyday play opportunities in a different environment.

Put up tents or marquees to provide shelter from the rain, wind or sun.

Use the local playbus, if you have one, as an attraction and a mode of transport for local children.

For more information on creating a playful event, go to the Event ideas and play section of the Get organised! guide.

Add your top tips to these pages to support other Playday events across the UK. To add your ideas, contact us directly.