Moments that shape their future

Play Matters

Ensuring that policy makers, practitioners, and parents understand that play is a vital part of childhood, and is necessary for every child’s healthy development and overall well-being.

  • Play development, training and guidance for a range of stakeholders with direct or indirect influence on play

  • Play training for professionals who work directly with parents

  • Play awareness sessions for parents.


  • Increased understanding and recognition of the importance of play

  • Greater awareness of the role of professionals in creating play-friendly communities

  • Skills development and confidence in parents, facilitating meaningful play with their children, and an understanding of the benefits of play

  • Improved play opportunities for children and young people, and wider communities.


Play Shaper

A programme of professional play development, training and guidance offered to a range of stakeholders who directly or indirectly influence play, aimed at helping them understand the importance of play and leisure and their role in creating child-friendly and/or play-friendly communities.

Stakeholders include policy makers, government departments, district councils, service providers, planning officers, PSNI, community representatives, health and social care professionals etc.

Play For Parents

This programme aims to provide parents and the professionals who work with them, with the skills, knowledge and confidence to meaningfully play with their children and gain an understanding of the many benefits of play in relation to their child’s development.

This programme is delivered through play specific training for professionals who work directly with parents (e.g. heath visitor teams, social work teams, Sure Start staff, allied health professionals) and play awareness programmes for groups of parents.

Established by the Department of Education in 2018, Play Matters was funded through the Early Intervention Transformation Programme for a two-year period. Following the success of the project, PlayBoard continues to offer elements of Play Matters on request.

Both Play Shaper and Play for Parents training spans two hours, is bespoke and can be tailored to suit your needs. Face-to-face delivery is preferred but online, via Zoom, is also an option.

For the little kids, the growing kids, and even the biggest kids … it’s not just playtime, it’s moments that shape their future.

Watch the Play Matters TV advert – Unleash the power of imagination!


Play Shaper

  • 11 councils engaged, with 44 sessions delivered to 213 participants

  • 7 government departments engaged

  • 80 student participants at 4 FE college sessions

Play For Parents

  • 438 professionals benefitted from play training

  • 329 parents and families engaged in play awareness sessions

  • 313 children and families enjoyed play sessions

Participant Feedback

“I found the Play Shaper training very beneficial both personally and professionally. The sessions were informative and generated new discussion with the community groups we already work alongside in Portadown. As a Community Beat Officer many of the young people we come into contact with are best suited to the type of play and activities the Play Shaper initiative provides. We are encouraged by interest of local community groups and are looking forward to supporting their ideas where possible, to enhance community and reduce anti- social behaviour.” – Community Beat Officer, PSNI

“The Play Shaper training was excellent, and has helped Regenerate better understand the value of play. After the training we are excited how play in the community will assist us increase education and reduce many social issues. It also helps us educate the community to reduce barriers to play.” – Regenerate

“Really fun. Great play activities. Good self-reflection exercise reminding me about how play mattered to me.” – Parent

“I recognise the value of play much more (and will) facilitate simple play ideas, rather than relying on screens.” – Parent

Contact Us

PlayBoard offers elements of the Play Shaper and Play for Parents programme on request.

Get in touch to discuss your play training needs.