Collections of Great Ideas

We’re now up to 19 Boards!


Not long ago I got a blog notice from Let the Children Play listing their twelve favorite Pinterest boards. I’ve copied that here, taken out the bad links and added suggestions that commentators have made.  In one sense this is mainly a convenience for me so I can have all these as reference on my blog.  But it is also a wake up call for anyone who thinks that we have to surrender to mass media to engage our kids. Spending a few minutes with these sites will reinvigorate the most jaded of we play professionals.

  1. Outdoor Spaces @ Mia Cavalca
  2. Outdoors @ Francine Cory
  3. Mud Kitchens and Water Walls @ Francine Cory
  4. Outdoor Play Link Up Ideas
  5. Natural School Yards @ Brenda Hillenius
  6. Outdoor Play Environments @ April White
  7. Backyard Nature Play Spaces @ Debi Huang
  8. Outdoor Classroom Ideas @ Play Based Classroom
  9. Learning Spaces @ Kierna Corr
  10. Backyard Play Spaces
  11. Let’s Play Outside
  12. Kid’s Garden Ideas
  13. Outdoor Learning Spaces
  14. Outdoors – Hillary White
  15. Playgrounds and Outdoor Spaces
  16. Barefoot Play 
  17. Playgrounds I want to play in
  18. PlayScapes Blog
  19. Cardboards

While looking at these sites I got to thinking about the Certified Wildlife Habitat campaign run by the National Wildlife Federation.  Now this may seem crazy but what if some families combined that idea with Mike Lanza’s concept of Playborhood?  Instead of just inviting in birds and butterflies, the yards of these families also welcome in neighborhood kids.

Certified Habitat

This idea has lots of thorny issues to work though.  Families will worry about liability, security, privacy and misuse.  On the other hand when the vacant and unused land disappears or becomes inaccessible, as is the case in my neighborhood, we are left with no resources for the kind of play so eloquently displayed in the boards above.  The Federation website provides copious support for those who want to nurture wildlife.  Can’t the same be do for play?


Being “schooled” by kids

In front of house

Here’s the set up.  I’m new in the neighborhood and notice the kids are mostly playing in the street.  There is enough traffic going fast that it is concerning. Looking around I see that the kids can’t leave this development as there is no safe route to town.  Even though there are 84 houses there is no play area set aside.  Bad planning!

So me being rather dominated by the Mr. Fixit side of my personality I try to find a way to open up the fence along the adjacent river.  You would think I called for scarifying household pets from the reaction from the neighbors.  Years ago they fought to close the river access off because of visitor trash and transients.   Even with my pledge to provide play supervision and secure access they didn’t want to entertain opening the gates.

Well, OK then, what can be done?  Taking another look at the issue I realized that my initial impression of a play desert was wrong.  Yes, the kids play a lot in the street but they are very traffic savvy.  They also use garages and backyards.  Some even sneak over the fence and get down along the river.  In general they have found places to play that don’t set off parental alarms but also allow them to be themselves.

Yes, I can ask the City for some traffic calming signs and a better route into town.  I can also share with parents that the kids are doing OK and that they can lighten up a bit on the restrictions.  I can also continue to be their friend.  They know I am on their side and they can share concerns and problems with me.

Maybe I’ve been a bit slow to find the wisdom to become the “grandpa” down the street – but better late than never.