Growing Up Wild Natural Play Conference - Resources

Links and resources from Lanarkshire's first ever natural play conference

Growing Up Wild - Lanarkshire's first natural play focussed conference, took place on Saturday 12 November at Hamilton Racecource.

103 attendeeds enjoyed a series of skill-focussed talks and hands-on workshops throughout the day, which were led by a variety of national and local organisations involved in natural play initiatives, including South Lanarkshire Council Countryside Rangers and Countryside and Greenspace Team, and the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership.


Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood (Orion 2006), acted as keynote speaker for the FREE conference, which was open to anyone interested in why, where and how children can play outdoors.

'Play Talk' boards were available for attendees to share information about their organisations throughout the day - please see the 'Play Talk Summary' link under 'Other Resources' on the right. Please see 'Find Out More' to the right for links to organisations who took part on the day.

Anyone that missed out on the Growing Up Wild Conference can view the presentations below, view the closing discussion bulletpoints and listen to the BBC Scotland Good Morning feature on local natural play focussed projects.

- Introduction to Growing Up Wild, Karen Dobbins, Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership Development Officer



- 21st Century Children - State of Play, Sue Palmer, Keynote Speaker and author of Toxic Childhood, Upstart Scotland




- Outdoor Access and Natural Play: Your Rights and Responsibilities, Alan Bannister, Access Development Officer, Countryside and Greenspace Service, South Lanarkshire Council



- Promoting, Supporting & Encouraging Outdoor Play, Jackie Meager, OutLET: Play Resource



Closing discussion: We’ve started a conversation, how do we keep it going?

Will we have another conference?

What about having more informal days /get-together’s for sharing skills and ideas. These could be outdoors and activity based which would be less expensive to run.

It has been a good opportunity for talking and sharing ideas.

How do we capitalise on this groundswell of activity now? Are there discussions going on with the local authorities to make outdoor and play- based learning more the norm? Some discussion took place around the challenges of mainstreaming this. Lots of individual schools/nurseries doing a great job, so we need to communicate this and help support others to get on board. Teachers need both school and parental support. They still face challenges from parents who don’t want their child to get dirty. Advice was to push for this. If you do want your child’s school to deliver more outdoor stuff, then raise it with the PTA/Parent Council and Headteacher.

Some discussion around the difference between play and learning- there’s a difference- make sure play has its own space.

Some children don’t know how to play. Things like loose parts is a good bridge between play and learning.

Schools need to be an important and recognised place for play. It might be the only time that some children get to play.