An adventure playground will open in the heart of New York City this May. play:ground, a local nonprofit, will open a 5,000 square foot play space on Governors Island where kids can imagine a world of their own making and experience self directed play. Modeled after a junkyard, the adventure playground lets children shape their environment using an assortment of materials, tools, water, dirt, and things that others might describe as trash. At the Governors Island adventure playground there will be none of the usual structures that you might find in a traditional playground - no shiny metal slides or swings, but the kids might build their own forts from wood pallets and hay bales, they might manage a see saw out of planks of woods or a trampoline out of old tires that lands them in a pile of mud. All this happens under the watchful eyes of trained playworkers — staff who are on hand to provide assistance when requested, but otherwise stand back and let the children take the lead.
Today in New York, young people experience a tightly managed urban landscape, with rare access to spaces belonging entirely to them. Where are kids free to self-organize, or independently create from their imaginations? play:ground encourages a sense of freedom and permissiveness not found in most of the city.
In addition to free public hours, play:ground will offer summer camps and school visits. Beyond the space on Governor’s Island, play:ground will continue providing local outreach through its ongoing initiative — play:ground in the park. Based on the Pop-Up Adventure Play model, play:ground in the park brings
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (May 2016)