This 'No Parents Allowed' Playground Is Changing The Way Kids Play And Dream

"play:groundNYC is a place for all children."

Typical playgrounds have swings, slides, and monkey bars, as well as a bench for parents to sit on and keep a watchful eye on their little ones. play:groundNYC isn't like the typical playground. It's an adventure space on Governors Island that opens every year for a designated window of time (this year it was May to October) to encourage kids to get creative, take risks, and have fun.

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And it gives kids a 50,000 square-foot "junkyard" play area to do it in.

play:groundNYC writes on its website that it's "a non-profit organization advocating for young people's rights by providing physical environments that encourage risk-taking and experimentation through self directed play." With the provided space and materials, kids create, control, and come up with their own ideas.

The park makes it clear that it's a place for all kids, regardless of their religion, race, gender, ability, citizenship, and more.

The only people who aren't allowed inside the adventure playground are adults.

play:groundNYC is still staffed by "trained playworkers" who the non-profit describe as acting like "lifeguards." They sit back and take a passive role, but are constantly aware of what is going on in the playground. 

This allows kids to still retain ownership over the space. They have complete control to build, enhance— or even destroy — the park.

This type of play is beneficial to kids because it encourages them to think creatively and take risks in safe situations. Care.com cites evidence from the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport that kids who played outside had improved vision. Furthermore, studies from Nature Reviews Neuroscience showed kids had less stress, and increased attention spans. Playing outside with others also increased their social skills.

The Conversation adds that there's growing evidence that unsupervised outdoor play is vital for children's development and connection to nature. Boston College psychology professor Peter Gray, writes In his book Free to LearnWhy Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life, that in "free play" kids learn to make their own decisions, solve their own problems, create and abide by rules, and have better social skills.

In keeping with inclusivity, play:groundNYC was free to enter and open to the public during its open hours Saturdays and Sundays, 12pm to 4pm from May 6 to October 1. It also offers summer camp for ten weeks Mondays through Fridays and can be booked for special events. It might be closed for the season, but play:ground NYC revealed on Facebook it would be back in the spring as well as offer some winter events.

Those not in New York City, should check out their local areas for pop-up play days and adventure playgrounds. play:groundNYC reports that there are several parks in California that have been around for decades. They also provide tips on their website for people looking to create their own adventure playgrounds.

Watch the video below to find out more about play:groundNYC:


(H/T: Scary Mommy)

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