As the constraints on childhood continue to expand in schools, streets, playgrounds and other urban spaces, the nonprofit play:groundNYC increases it’s advocacy for children’s rights for freeplay. At it’s 50,000 square foot junk playground on Governors Island, newly renamed “The Yard,” children play without judgement and have the freedom to express and explore. “The Yard” was the name of the first junk playground in the US, originally opened in Minneapolis in 1949. The renaming points to both the long history of staffed adventure playgrounds in the US, as well as unstructured nature of the space on Governors Island.
Beginning Saturday, May 5th at 12pm, “The Yard” will be open with free admission to the public every weekend through October 27. Upon entering, children 6 and up are permitted to play free while their parents and caregivers are directed to remain outside. Trained playworkers are inside “The Yard” supporting play and the use of hand tools such as saws, hammers and shovels. Families with children under 6 are invited to the family adventure play area where children and parents can explore materials and play together.
Now in its third year of operation, play:groundNYC will be hosting a summer camp at ”The Yard,” including a Girls Only week, with two scholarships available per week throughout the summer. Campers experience the benefits of being at a camp on a car-free, zero waste island, a truly unique experience in New York City.
“The Yard provides the opportunity for New York City youth to take control of their environments,” says Rebecca Faulkner, Executive Director of play:groundNYC. “At a time when so many children are facing major physical and mental health problems as a result of growing up in cities that do prioritize their needs, The Yard demonstrates the transformative power of self-directed outdoor play.”
play:groundNYC continues to support and advocate for adventure playgrounds and free play spaces all across the city, from transforming unused lots to working within the school and home environment. In addition, play:groundNYC is growing it’s advocacy for children’s rights by championing and advocating for an urban environment which embraces all youth.