Public engagement project

Playful Gardens Project

Playful Gardens was a monthly inclusive family day held within the Dundee Botanic gardens in 2022.

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Start date

May 2022

Completion date

October 2022

Playful Garden Days ran from May to October 2022, designed with children and families who have additional needs in mind and suitable for those families waiting for assessment from CAMHS, for example, ADHD/Autism, and those who would like inclusive play opportunities. Whole families came come along and played together.

The University of Dundee Botanic Gardens teamed up with Vicky Armstrong from the University of Dundee and Art at the Start (project Lead), with Keren Hadden (NHS CAHMS), DCA, Scrap Antics, Barnardo's and Dundee University Botanic Gardens to offer a range of playful and creative activities that spread through the Dundee Botanic gardens so families could explore and choose activities that suited their needs.

Activities included Loose Parts play with scrap antics, messy art with Art at the Start, more structured art workshops with DCA, sensory space, indoor games and outdoor play prompts from Barnardo's and outdoor nature activities. There were trails and scavenger hunts to do independently too. The garden is a beautiful large space to enjoy with plenty room to run about, and with plenty quiet areas for those who needed a calm space. Staff were also on hand in parents needed support or someone to talk to and Perth Autism Support and Dundee ADHD Support Group ran information stall. We even provided snacks and drinks.

The six month pilot was funded by Cash for Kids and Festival of the Future. What did families say about Playful Gardens: "Being able to spend the day as a family without judgement from others", "Brilliant, relaxed, non judgemental, kids had a ball."

The project is set to run in 2023 and 2024.


Project lead(s)

Dr Vicky Armstrong

External team members

Keren Hadden - NHS, CAHMS

Project partners

Sarah Derrick - DCA 
Sandy Green - ScrapAntics
Leigh-Ann Orrock - Barnardos 

Project team

Kevin Frediani


Related groups

Botanic Garden