freely chosen and directed; and intrinsically motivated
For the most universally accepted definitions/explanations of play, I implore you to peruse the International Play Association‘s website, which is concerned with “promoting the child’s right to play” – I cannot praise the work of this association enough. In particular, I would like to draw your attention to the Declaration on the Importance of Play 2014.
DID YOU KNOW…?
Play is not just important to the lives of children, it is essential.
In fact, children have the ‘Right to Play’.
1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
2. States Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.”
Adventure playgrounds originated in the UK around WWII, as ‘junk playgrounds’. These spaces are full of interesting, unusual, structures and loose parts, and are rich with opportunities for physically challenging, imaginative play. Adults are expected to step back in the adventure playground setting, and allow children to lead their own play. For a wonderful history of Adventure Play, check out this article from Fair Play For Children.
For my fellow Aussies living in or visiting Melbourne…
Adventure Playgrounds in the City of Port Phillip – (Victoria, Australia) – The St Kilda Adventure Playground and Skinners Adventure Playground South Melbourne
The Venny Adventure Playground – (Kensington, Victoria, Australia)
MORE PLAYGROUND INSPIRATION
Play Australia – (Previously known as the Playground and Recreation Association of Victoria) – “Play Australia is committed to promoting the value of play and increasing play opportunities for children, young people and families”. One of Play Australia’s key aims is to promote better playground design. They have a great list of Places to Play.
Melbourne Playgrounds – A great run down on the locations, features and facilities at playgrounds in and around Melbourne, Australia
Playground Ideas – Playground Ideas is a non-profit organisation that supports anyone, anywhere to build a stimulating space for play using only local materials, tools, and skills.
Playgroundology – Alex Smith is the Founder/Editor of PlayGroundology, which advocates “for a wider range of play opportunities for kids in public spaces” I LOVE the things they share related to the world of playgrounds.
“Playwork is the work of creating and maintaining spaces for children to play.” (Wikipedia)
Playworkers ensure that a wide range of play possibilities are accessible to children.
They “observe, reflect and analyse the play that is happening” (Wikipedia) and as unobtrusively as possible, look out for the children’s safety and create further play opportunities to explore.
The profession has its roots in the early adventure playground movement.
THE BEST PLAY AND PLAYWORK RESOURCES AROUND…
Malarkey PLAYwork recognise the play definition from the National Review of Children’s Play (2004) as being; “… what children and young people do when they follow their own ideas and interests, in their own way and for their own reasons.” and have a great page full of info and links about playwork here.
Malarkey PLAYwork – is “an Australian based company providing training and consultancy in all things play and PLAYwork for those working in the children and young people’s workforce, and a leading enabling body for the PLAY & PLAYwork sectors.”
I am in love with the energy and expertise of these guys and their all round top quality information about PLAY. Get onto it.
Ludicology – Ben Tawil (endorsed by Malarkey PLAYwork), operates Ludicology, which “exists to provide advice, research and training to all those concerned with children’s play. The Ludicology Facebook Page and Podcasts, are always full of top quality resources. I am a HUGE fan.
Journey into Play – Justine Walsh and Nicole Bourke (also endorsed by Malarkey PLAYwork) are Australian Early Childhood Play Consultants, PLAYworkers and training providers. They are super fun, friendly, and pop up adventure play experts!
Marc Armitage at Play – “This is a (Facebook) page that discusses play and the wider social worlds of children in a multi-disciplinary way – here you will find news stories and information from a VERY broad range of academic and practioner groups.” Authored by Marc Armitage – Independent Playworking Consultant and Expert.
Play Wales – Chwarae Cymru- The Welsh national charity for children’s play, which “..work(s) to raise awareness of children and young people’s need and right to play and to promote good practice at every level of decision making and in every place where children might play”. This site is a play treasure trove. It’s page of UK based organisations, associations and publications is awesome!
Richard Louv – Journalist and author of eight books about the connections between family, nature and community
The Strong – National Museum of Play
Teacher Tom – Personal blog of Teacher Tom, preschool teacher, writer, speaker, artist and author of “A Parent’s Guide To Seattle”
Play Counts – Denita Dinger, who runs a site full of inspiration and resources, as well as her own play school, where she proudly proclaims “Play IS the important stuff!”
Let the Children Play – a site supporting parents and teachers to ‘put the play back into childhood’.