COMnPLAY-SCIENCE wants to make science and coding more fun

We just started a new project that will make learning science more fun for kids. We know children learn through play. But play is seldom utilized in teaching, which tends to be more formal and structured. This is especially true for science teaching. The new European project COMnPLAY-SCIENCE will change all this. It will provide teachers with research-based knowledge and tools, so they can use play in teaching science and coding. Read on if you want to know more and contact us if you are interested in our project.

COMnPLAY-SCIENCE project started the 1st of June and the kick off meeting took place at NTNU 18th to 19th of June. COMnPLAY-SCIENCE has a 3-year duration and has received 3,1M€ funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The consortium consists of 11 distinguished members from 10 European countries (Austria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, UK) bringing together the multifaceted necessary expertise required for the project, complementing each another, representing the stakeholders in the world of innovative informal science learning, and reflecting the geographical, cultural and socioeconomic diversity of Europe.


Teaching coding is currently gaining momentum across the world to help young people develop technological fluency and deeper understanding of how the digital world is created, how it might be used to meet our needs, how we might repair or modify it. At the same time, the maker movement of independent innovators, designers and tinkerers has dynamically entered the landscape of innovative education and informal learning, offering an unprecedented opportunity for educators to advance a progressive educational agenda. Across the spectrum of these emerging creative learning activities, the elements of fun and playfulness are dominant harnessing children’s sense of joy, wonder and natural curiosity, achieving high levels of engagement and learner’s personal investment in learning. The links and contributions of these creative learning approaches and activities to science education are strong and obvious, albeit still only little explored and understood in depth.

Project’s Objectives

Infographics about COMnPLAY-SCIENCE.

Infographics about COMnPLAY-SCIENCE.

The project aims to help Europe better understand the new ways in which informal science learning is taking place through various coding, making, and play activities that young Europeans (children, adolescents and young adults) are nowadays increasingly engaged with, outside school and higher education science classrooms, beyond the formal boundaries of science education. The project’s main objectives are to:

  1. Develop an appropriate conceptual and methodological framework integrating all aspects of the project into a unifying conceptual map.
  2. Setup a European-wide community of stakeholders, including learners, educators, facilitators and policy makers from diverse fields, to contribute, guide and help assessing the conducted research.
  3. Identify, pool and analyse diverse existing coding, making and play-based practices taking place outside formal science classrooms which bear some promise for informal science learning.
  4. Conduct in-depth learner-centred participatory empirical research on selected practices.
  5. Gain a deep understanding of the impact that this kind of informal science learning has on formal science education, traditional informal science learning interventions, young people as learners and citizens, as well as, on society.
  6. Communicate and disseminate the messages and outcomes of the project widely, and enable the exploitation of the findings of the research through the development of relevant guidance for practitioners and recommendations for policy development and further research.

The main results stemming from the project include:

  • An online inventory of all the identified and pooled practices, appropriately categorized and annotated in the light of the findings of the research, available to stakeholders and the public.
  • A set of community building methods and tools for everyone wishing to get involved in community building linked to the project.
  • A Web-based game promoting and supporting the continuous prolonged engagement of learners and their facilitators in the field research.
  • The COMnPLAY-Science Knowledge Kit, a modular set of reader-friendly, practice-oriented publications, encapsulating the findings of the project.
  • The COMnPLAY-Science Roadmap for Europe, a detailed concerted account by the consortium, the stakeholder communities and policy makers of the potential for short-, medium- and long term impact of coding, making and play-based informal science learning.
  • Numerous public events (workshops, training seminars, conferences, contests, fairs), often combined with training activities (winter and summer schools).

Consortium Members

The consortium

The consortium members at the kick-off meeting.

  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway (coordinator)
  • University of Oulu, Finland
  • Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas, Greece
  • Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands
  • Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Technical University of Munich, Germany
  • University of Malta, Malta
  • Design for Change initiative, Spain
  • Ovos media GmbH, Austria
  • King’s College London, UK
  • Science Museum Group, UK


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Twitter: @comnplayscience