Home > Vision 2030 > Sustainable Planet > Outdoor Play

Outdoor Play

Why Outdoor Play is Important

Outdoor play is of utmost importance for children’s development and well-being, and at YMCA Scotland, we recognise its numerous benefits. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) emphasises the right of every child to engage in play and leisure activities, and outdoor play perfectly aligns with this fundamental right. By encouraging outdoor play, children have the opportunity to explore and discover the natural world, fostering a sense of curiosity and environmental awareness. This hands-on experience in nature helps to develop their physical skills, coordination, and balance, contributing to overall better health.

Outdoor play encourages social interaction and communication among children, promoting teamwork, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills. It also nurtures their creativity and imagination, as they can freely create games and scenarios inspired by the diverse outdoor environment.

At YMCA we firmly believe that outdoor play is essential for children’s holistic development, and we actively create spaces that facilitate such experiences. By engaging in outdoor activities, children can learn to appreciate nature and understand the significance of environmental preservation, aligning with the UNCRC’s principles of nurturing informed and responsible global citizens. Additionally, outdoor play provides a respite from the increasingly digitised world, giving children the chance to disconnect from screens and reconnect with nature.

This balance is crucial for maintaining their mental well-being and reducing stress. By incorporating outdoor play into our programmes, we aim to empower children, supporting their rights to leisure, play, and recreation as outlined by the UNCRC. By promoting and facilitating outdoor play, we foster an environment where children can thrive, grow, and build cherished memories that will stay with them for a lifetime.


YMCA Scotland's Commitment

On 16th March 2021, The Scottish Parliament passed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill.

By passing this Bill, Scotland became the first country in the UK to incorporate the UNCRC into domestic law to ensure that children’s rights are respected and protected by law.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is the international agreement between 193 member states of the United Nations and spells out the rights that should be afforded to you.

Your rights under the UNCRC include:

  • Right to life and healthcare

  • Right to protection from violence, abuse or neglect

  • Right to have a say in decisions that affect your life

  • Right to education

  • Right to information

  • Right to privacy

  • Right to meet with other young people

  • Obligation on the state to act in your best interest


The Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland and their team, work to protect the of everyone in Scotland under 18 and everyone in Scotland under 21 who has been looked after or in care.

You can contact The Children and Young People’s Commissioner directly via email at inbox@cypcs.org.uk and there are more details on the website at  https://www.cypcs.org.uk/


Download a ten-minute training tool called, “Introducing Children’s Rights” The pack will help you gain an understanding of children’s rights, rights frameworks (e.g. UNCRC) and rights-based legislation (e.g. the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014).

For more details on UNCRC training and resources, please contact Jeanette Third at YMCA Scotland.