Alongside Felix Road Adventure Playground, we've come up with an A - Z of Adventure Play, charting the essential ingredients, cultural history and key concepts of the movement.
A is for Adventure
Why of course! It’s where play, imagination, excitement and risk all come together. We firmly believe adventure is where the magic happens, and where childhood wonder happens!
C is for Community
Every adventure playground is different reflecting the community it is very much a part of. And of course every community should have an adventure playground.
E is for Emdrup
The suburb of Copenhagen where the architect TH Sorenson started the first ‘junk playground’ in 1944.
B is for Bauspielplatz
The wonderful German work-play-ground! Go and see these amazing and inspiring child built adventure playgrounds in Berlin and Hamburg.
D is for Dedicated Children’s Space
Adventure playgrounds are unique in society as the whole site is a dedicated laboratory for child lead play. You don't find that elsewhere!
F is for Fire Pit
Playing outside all year-round children need a covered fire pit to keep warm, cook and tell stories round. It's an essential part to any APG!
G is for Geography of Childhood
This is all about children’s freedom to roam a playful neighbourhood including, parks, streets, gardens, unused slack space and of course adventure playgrounds.
I is for Inclusive
An adventure playground is a child’s space, free of adult prejudice where everyone is free and welcome to play in their own way.
K is for Kitchen
The kitchen, whether its indoors or outdoors, is a key ingredient on any adventure playground. Cooking is an explorative form of play and the food shared fuels and sustains children’s play.
M is for Marjorie Allen
Lady Allen of Hurtwood was an inspirational social campaigner after the war. She was an architect, writer, an advocate of adventure play and the founder of the adventure playground movement in the UK.
O is for Open Access
Adventure playgrounds have always been open access, where children are free to come and go as they please, an important part of childhood freedom. (see also G is for Geography)
Q is for Quintessentially Hetrodoxic
Adventure playgrounds are proud of their unorthodoxy. In essence they are children’s counterculture, a mindful resistance to a modern society where children get a pretty raw deal.
H is for Hammers and Saws
The most essential and fundamental hand tools. With enough determination, energy and creativity a child can build huts, towers, shops, bridges, go karts…a children’s society! (see also N is for Nails and screws)
J is for 'Just Play'
Adventure playgrounds are children’s spaces, pockets of disorder in an adult society, with an emphasis on play as children’s culture in all its many forms.
L is for Loose Parts
A well stocked and varied supply of loose parts or ‘stuff’ provides a constantly changing and rich play environment where children can change and build the playground of their dreams!
N is for Nails and Screws
You can build almost anything with a handful of nails, you can even straighten and re-use old nails found on the fire! Hex head screws and an impact driver are even better for children building quick and strong play structures.
P is for Play and Playworkers
In the UK playwork is probably the most undervalued profession in the children’s workforce. This is in stark contrast to other European countries where it is highly valued!
R is for Russell and Lester
Wendy Russell and the late Stuart Lester are British play academics par excellence who have written extensively about children’s play, childhood and adventure play. Check them out!
S is for Social and Cultural Capital
Childhood is not just about learning and school. It can also include exploration, experimenting and discovery that builds social and cultural capital in the child.
U is for Unique Childhood Experiences
Whether its cooking on a fire, swinging high in the air, doing a dance with friends, writing a zine, or building your own play space, adventure playgrounds are packed full of life changing and unique childhood experiences
W is for Wood
A wonderful, cheap, sustainable, natural material that is perfect for children to build with. Wood is truly wonderful! We (re)use tonnes of the stuff in every build!
Y is for Youth Services
Adventure Playgrounds offer an integrated, complex and profound service to families and children in their communities. However, they are often the first to be axed when Youth and Play Services get cut back.
T is for Tango Swing
An iconic large swing on UK adventure playgrounds. Two swings on one spinning pivot and a large circular platform produces a cat and mice chase game of mind blowing physical literacy and swinging dexterity!
V is for Very Long and Cool History
Adventure playgrounds in the UK have been around for 70 years! However, they receive little recognition of the part they have played in communities over 4 generations.
X is for Xtra Ordinary Services
Adventure playgrounds are undoubtedly Xtra ordinary. Whether in Denmark, Austria, Japan, USA, Germany or here in the UK, there is no other service quite like an adventure playground.
Z is for Zip Wire
Another iconic piece of equipment on UK adventure playgrounds. Children get to fly through space and time with ‘the wind in their hair and excitement in their tummies’.