The Case for Play

Lord Blunkett and Ruby

For three months between September and November 2015, Sense undertook a public inquiry into the provision of play opportunities for children aged 0-5 with multiple needs in England and Wales.

The inquiry was established in response to feedback received from families of children with multiple needs who had expressed concerns that they had fewer opportunities to access play services and settings in comparison to families with non-disabled children. Guidance on learning to play with their children is also the most common request from families who access support from Sense.

The Case for Play Inquiry was designed to provide an evidence base and thorough understanding of the following questions:

  1. What are the benefits of play for children with multiple needs?
  2. Do barriers exist to young children with multiple needs accessing play settings and activities? If so, what are these?
  3. What can be done to increase access to play opportunities for young children with multiple needs?

Read The Case for Play report

Read the report in an online magazine format on Issuu
Download the PDF (1.3MB)
Download the Word document (100KB)
Download the Wales version of the report PDF in English (1.6MB) or Welsh (3.3MB)

Case studies

The report features the stories of four children, told by their parents, regarding the benefits of play and the barriers to accessing play opportunities.  The full stories can be read in the report; below are brief extracts.


The report contains a series of recommendations for national government, local government and play providers.

Information for families

Sense offers support, advice and services for families of children with multiple needs.


As the report explains, play is vitally important to all children and their development.  By donating to Sense, your gift - however large or small - can help make a real difference to the lives of the children we support.

Sensory Toys

Sensory toys are key to developmental play, here are a few examples of what your money could buy:

£5.22 will buy two vibrating farm creatures, which provide a gentle vibration when children pull the drawstring.
£12.50 will buy a colourful plastic porcupine ball which helps stimulate touch - covered in soft, elastic spines - and glows under UV light.
£45 will buy a melody mix set, facilitating lots of sounds and vibrations for children to explore.

Donate now


First published: Friday 19 February 2016
Updated: Wednesday 19 October 2016