The project will iteratively design and evaluate a computational playground where children aged 4-8 can play and create their own games. Playgrounds will be fun worlds for learning, places to play with rules not just to play by them. We are building prototypes which allow children to play with new kinds of programming. Rather than using text based languages, the new programming borrows from animation, video games and dynamic graphics. We will also develop and integrate touch, speech, intelligent 'pals' (personal assistants for learning), and gesture in virtual reality.

Playgrounds will be built using 2 different programming languages, enabling us to compare the benefits of each. The two languages are ToonTalk, an animated programming language and Imagine a graphical version of Logo.

Playground design will take place concurrently with studies of children learning across a sample of European schools and clubs. Evaluation of the children's games, game creation and learning outcomes will identify cultural, conceptual and developmental variation.

We're working alongside children age 4 - 8 and their teachers. Through designing interesting and challenging games for themselves and others in the playgrounds, the children will learn about rules and how they can be modified and expressed. The children will also have an impact on the design and functionality of the playgrounds through feedback from research in the schools.

Playground is an EU funded project, with academic and commercial partners in the UK, Portugal, Slovakia and Sweden. This is the official project website but there are corresponding playground websites in Sweden and Portugal focussing on support for teachers, children and schools.