Bushes     Pleasure Park Display Board      Trees, Pleasure Park 

2012 saw the launch of Simply Play, a free, play value assessment tool developed through a Knowedge Transfer Partnership between Sheffield Hallam University and Timberplay Ltd. Simply Play is now being taken up and used throughout the UK to evaluate the play potential of any given space and ensure any investment in play has a maximum return in terms of play value.

Recently, Beth Cooper, Creative Play Associate and Project Lead on Simply Play, visited Pleasure Park in Kettering to advise Kettering Borough Council on how to develop a more holistic approach to play. This has now been incorporated into their successful funding bid to improve Pleasure Park.

Beth Cooper explains:-

“In 2012 I visited Kettering in Northamptonshire to undertake a Simply Play assessment of Pleasure Park. We had a solid foundation from the start as Kettering Council have a good grasp of play and a committed and enthusiastic team who are keen and willing to develop play and play opportunities in the local area. This is a very commendable spirit, particularly in the face of the removal of the large scale capital grants”

The park itself was a fairly typical Victorian Park with a large play area clearly defined by a fence. The play area had some pretty standard equipment with the addition of other features like a BMX track, which served as much as a moonscape, a crawling track, a scooter track and later on in the day, as the older children tumbled out of school, a bike track.

The assessment was done on both the designated play area and the park as a whole. In spite of a ‘satisfactory’ play area, Simply Play highlighted that the wider park scored more highly for play value with its additional playability provided through other features such as trees to climb and a flexibility of usage afforded by the space.

Where Simply Play helped the team at Kettering develop their ideas for the future was by supporting them in conceptualising what they were trying to do both within the park and more widely in Kettering, to develop major ‘play spaces’ and not just ‘play areas’. This thinking not only helped them to win the funding applied for, but also was built into the current Green Flag application.”

Dave Lane, of Kettering Borough Council sums up Simply Play’s contribution.

“In terms of supporting the future development of Play in Kettering, Simply Play has come along at the right time and fits with the team looking more holistically at other sites and focussing on the wider play value and play potential of these sites. In addition it fits with moving beyond traditional ‘designated play areas’ to making whole spaces playable.”

For more information contact


Thurrock Thameside Nature Park


Hedgehog – Simply Play Consultation

Simply Play as a play value assessment process has been proving its own value through a recent consultation with local people and visitors to the Thurrock Thameside Nature Park in Essex. we have been working with local schools, riders groups, cycling organisations, trustees and volunteers to seek out local opinion on a potential new play area at the Visitors Centre on site. Managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust the Nature Park is an exciting reclamation of an old land fill site and is host to a great diversity of wildlife. From the migrating birds to the local Brown Hares.

It has been an exciting two months having discussions with local about the plans for the site and the Centre it self is going from strength to strength with high visitor numbers.

If you are in the area it is well worth a visit.

Play Research Network Meeting

On Thursday 6th September we had the opportunity to present Simply Play at the Play Research Network meeting, hosted by Leeds Metropolitan University and chaired by Dr. Fraser Brown. During the day presentations were given on a range of topics and research projects. Other presentations included; an update by Steven Chown of Play England on behalf of Alex Hunt on the National Trust’s, Natural Childhood campaign,  Information about the Reclaiming Street Play project from Roisin McCooey of Playboard, Northern Ireland, Research supporting the case for play from Dr. Angie Page at University of Bristol.

More information on this event and details of the presentations can be found on Play England’s Website or by clicking here.

Hello and Welcome

Hello to those who have heard about Simply Play, the new Play Value assessment through the grapevine. Welcome to those of you who have read about Simply Play in various articles over the Summer. Thank you to all of you who have been part of the development of Simply Play.

The Simply Play assessment can now be accessed by clicking on the Survey tab above or if you wish it to open in a new window push the Brown Muddy Hand to the right of the screen.

After much testing and development, which can be read about in the History section of the website the Simply Play Assessment has now been released. This on-line version which you are able to access has been developed by members of Faculty of Arts, Computing, Engineering and Sciences at Sheffield Hallam University. Simply Play will send you your results as a chart by email as you reach the end of the 45 questions. We are continuing to work on improving some aspects of its functionality and design so all comments and feedback on your experience of using Simply Play are welcome.

The assessment could take around an hour to undertake depending on your familiarity with both the process and the space you are evaluating.

Content is being added to the website to help support the understanding of the themes in the Simply Play assessment and an understanding of Play.

Thank you for visiting. We hope that you find Simply Play a useful and effective part of your play space development. Feel free to contact us on if you have any questions or queries.