Category Archives: Uncategorized

10 Ways to Build a City for Children • This City Life


A nice intro and overview from Tim on some work from Vancouver-based urbanist Jillian Glover that includes her original tumblr post. The actual doing of making cities better places for kids and families continues to be a challenge for jurisdictions around the world. Some good thoughts here – Both Tim and Jillian are always interested in ideas on this subject. Thanks Tim for the intro to Jillian’s work.

Originally posted on Rethinking Childhood:

A snappy ten-point checklist for a child-friendly city has been pulled together by Vancouver urbanist and writer Jillian Glover. I confess I am cautious about the ‘top tips’ style of writing, which can lead to oversimplification. But this ticked a lot of my boxes.

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Working with some new friends and old to bring more community led play to public spaces in Halifax. Tomorrow is our first event/activity. If you’re in the Halifax area, join us for Looseparts-apalooza….

Originally posted on Adventure Play YHZ:

Hope you can join us on Sunday from 1 to 3 for a pop up loose parts play session in the green space behind the Findlay Centre – brought to you by Adventure Play YHZ.


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Is North America on the brink of a play renaissance?


It was great to have Tim Gill share some of his time and perspectives with us during his recent Canadian trip. It seems like we made a good impression based on his latest post on Rethinking Childhood. This is a theme I will be taking up at Halifax’s Emergent Learning conference this fall for my presentation – ‘Risk, Resilience and the Renaissance of Play’. Thanks Tim, we hope you’ll be back.

Originally posted on Rethinking Childhood:

Position statement screengrabThe last few weeks have seen three major milestones in the journey towards a healthier, happier childhood for children in North America. While not directly connected, they could come to be seen a tipping point. So what are these milestones?

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One Little, Two Little, Three Canadians, We Love Thee – Who is Singing Canada’s Play People Chorus?

I pinched this ‘Four asks’ infographic from a Rethinking Childhood blog post published today by Tim Gill – it’s well worth a read. It’s brilliant that the Children’s Play Policy Forum has created a big tent for play where policy makers, researchers and practitioners from across the UK can get together to advocate and take action.

Four asks for playFour asks – for play, for health, for children, for everyone. Click to enlarge.

In the UK, non-governmental organizations – Play Scotland, Fields in Trust and London Play et al – that focus their work almost exclusively on children’s play have over the years become strong voices influencing national and local government policies. This is an important strategic difference when looking at the Canadian experience. Where is our Play Canada, Joue Québec, or Toronto Play?

It’s not that there is a lack of dedicated and fun loving Canadians who recognize and promote play. They range from educators, health care professionals, designers and landscape architects to journalists, municipal recreation leaders, parents, physical activity enthusiasts, public servants developing policy and programs and all the others who are part of the play continuum. But where are the unifying Canadian voices that focus exclusively on play and its benefits? It’s very possible that I’ve missed them and if so, I would like to get acquainted with any such groups.

Spirit of CanadaSpirit of Canada by Kyle Jackson

We Canadians wouldn’t be remiss in getting better acquainted with the best practices of other jurisdictions including the UK to see what could fly here. Never mind that, we could start sharing our own best practices related to play more broadly. In addition, a clearing house of information on children’s play research and initiatives from our various orders of government and non-governmental agencies would be a step in the right direction.

In 2017, the play world is coming to Canada’s doorstep as the City of Calgary, the International Play Association (IPA) Canada and the Alberta Parks and Recreation Association are hosting the International Play Association Conference. It will be a great opportunity for Canada to share its playbook and for Canadians to take stock of strategies that are advancing play in other parts of the world.

ConferenceInternational Play Association (IPA) Conference, City of Calgary – 2017

I just signed up with the IPA last April after meeting with the association’s President Theresa Casey. She was kind enough to take time out of her day and have a coffee with me looking out over Edinburgh’s Princes St. Gardens where on that day daffodils bobbed riotously in the wind and kids rolled down the grassy incline. What great work this IPA crowd is doing – more on them in a future installment of PlayGroundology……

DSC06497Princes St. Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland

Do read Tim Gill’s post – Politicians told: invest in play, and children, families and communities will all see the benefits – then ask yourself, what can we do in Canada? What can be done in other countries?

An open letter to ASTM, and to anyone who wants to see a thoughtful approach to playground safety


Bubblewrapping our kids by means of incremental risk reduction is one way to approach playground safety but will it necessarily deliver the desired results? In this post’s open letter, the UK Play Safety Forum asks the American Society for Testing and Materials’ (ASTM) Sub Committee F08.63 on Playground Surfacing to reconsider and open for broader debate a planned major change to playground safety standards.

Originally posted on Rethinking Childhood:

The American standards body ASTM International is planning a major change to playground safety standards. This post (including a joint open letter to ASTM from Robin Sutcliffe – chairman of the UK Play Safety Forum – and me) is a direct plea to put this proposal on hold pending a wider review.

The proposal – to tighten up the impact absorbency thresholds for playground surfacing – may sound purely technical. In fact, it is far more profound, as my regular collaborator Bernard Spiegal has argued. What is more, it could have far-reaching consequences, potentially leading to hundreds of millions of dollars of additional expenditure by schools, municipalities and others, the removal of equipment, and widespread playground closures. Its effects could be felt far beyond the USA, given the global push to normalize product safety standards.

Despite its implications, the proposal has so far had almost no debate beyond ASTM…

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Adventure: playing out in Telford Road


Just love this photocentric post from The Library Time Machine. Thanks for sharing these images. I’m sure PlayGroundology readers will enjoy them. Hey Canada, what do you say, don’t we need a few adventure playgrounds sprinkled across the land?

Originally posted on The Library Time Machine:

Adventure playgrounds were a feature of childhood/adolescence which passed me by really. I wasn’t brought up in London and they were mostly I think a phenomenon of urban life. I saw plenty of them when I first came to London in 1973 – brightly painted constructions of wood, behind fences, teeming with kids and I had the vague sense of having missed out on something. If you come from a small town, urban life, even the life in what might be called “deprived” areas looks exciting.

So when my colleague Tim showed me a packet of photos of the Notting Hill Adventure Playground in Telford Road that he’d retrieved in the course of an enquiry, I was fascinated by these scenes of communal play. The blogging cells in my brain immediately recognised them assomething you had to see.

NHG Adventure 011

Most of these pictures come from a large packet of photographs donated…

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Simple Treasures

There is nothing quite like stumbling across a new treasure. Sharing the find with an appreciative audience like PlayGroundology readers makes it just that much sweeter. When the kids are with me too to revel in the discovery then we’re pretty much wallowing the nirvana zone.

Play opportunities are always top of mind when we’re on the road. We frequently hear a three part harmony from the back seat of the Orlando, “can we go to a playground here?”. In Edmundston, New Brunswick we hit gold in a municipal park located next to our campground.

DSCF7486Four tires, three kids and some chains

In my five years of visiting playgrounds, scouring the interweb and receiving photos from other play enthusiasts, this was the first time I come across this particular piece of equipment, truly a simple treasure.


In the course of 15 minutes the kids were rodeo cowboy bronco riders, firefighters scaling a ladder to fight a blazing building, aerial daredevils manoeuvring around the perimeter just a stumble away from falling into boiling lava.


The apparatus was also well suited for balancing, sundry acrobatics and gyrations, mountaineering, gale force laughter and slowmo tag.


Bravo to the designers for the countless hours of fun they have made possible. Kudos to the local authority for retaining this wonderful piece for the kids.

Readers, what are your favourite simple treasures from the world of play?