These Unconventional Playgrounds Could Make Your Kids More Creative

Children have become less creative than previous generations, and more in need of unsupervised play that adventure playgrounds allow.

Casey Lesser | Artsi.net

In this age of overprotective parenting, children are hardly allowed to sit still—let alone play freely—without the hawkeyed supervision of an adult. So, it may be surprising to learn that there’s been renewed enthusiasm for an unusual type of outdoor playground where kids, aged six and up, can escape from their parents, pick up a hammer and nails, and build a fort.

One such adventure playground, as they are known, opened on New York City’s Governor’s Island in 2016. The 50,000-square-foot outdoor site, called The Yard, bears little resemblance to the colorful jungle gyms that the word “playground” typically conjures. Instead, it’s an expansive patch of dirt and grass piled with junkyard detritus such as tires, crates, traffic cones, and an old kayak. On sunny days, from spring through fall, it’s rife with children donning capes and splashing in puddles, and posting up at workbenches to use saws, hammers, and other small hand tools.

“There seems to be more of an interest now than there was even when we launched,” said Rebecca Faulkner, executive director of play:groundNYC, the nonprofit that runs The Yard. “But the main difference we noticed is there’s less media panic and hysteria and more acceptance.” That acceptance has to do with broader recognition that children have become less creative than previous generations, and more in need of the risky, unsupervised play that adventure playgrounds allow.

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