Recent studies have shown that playing out of doors is crucial for children who are developing motor, problem-solving and observation skills, in addition to developing an understanding and relationship with nature (a.k.a. "eco-literacy"). Kids need more time to play -- but not necessarily in today's trend for organized, scheduled activities, as kids need to have moments of unstructured time to explore that helps develop their creativity and self-confidence.
To counter this glut of over-scheduled activities that don't require much thinking on the child's part, there's been some fascinating developments: one is the tinkeringmovement, facilitated by easy-to-use DIY components like the Raspberry Pi. Another striking example of this emerging "free play" movement is an adventure playground in Plas Madoc in Wales, UK, where kids are allowed to run free, take risks, build things, and do what kids do best: play.
Seen over at The Guardian and looking a bit more like a trashed up place than a playground, The Land (as this adventure playground is called), was started in 2012 by local resident, parent and playground manager, Claire Griffiths. Kids have access to tools, materials and can start fires, of course under supervision of adult "playworkers" who are there to give help and guidance if needed. The point is to use what is at hand to give kids a chance to play, says Griffiths: