Play Everywhere Playbook

Guidelines for turning everyday spaces into PLAYces

Creating Play Everywhere

Science and common sense agree: Kids need play to grow up healthy, resilient and ready for life. But across the U.S. – especially in cities – too many children miss out on the chance to play because of where they live, where they come from or how much their families earn. Play is just too important to a healthy childhood for any kid to be left out. Play is a critical component in ensuring kids develop into healthy, successful adults, and teaches them important 21st century skills such as collaboration, problem-solving, and resiliency.

As research from ideas42 indicates, cities must play an active role in becoming more playable to guarantee that all kids across every socio-economic background are getting the play they need to thrive. We must create family-friendly cities that make play easy and accessible, capitalizing on everyday spaces and routines to turn moments of frustration into opportunities for play and joy.

We gathered over 50 experts for a day-long session to discuss what it means to foster play everywhere, and the elements necessary to create playable spaces. The Playbook reflects the insights of these experts.

Making a Successful Play Everywhere Idea

An ideal play everywhere concept has great answers to these four questions

Who would your idea serve?
Make sure your idea is primarily serving low-income kids and families.
How could kids play more?
Propose a way to get kids to play more. That means you're creating:
  • Active bodies
  • Active minds
  • Active together
Where would your idea take place?
Pick a location.
  • Streets and sidewalks
  • Plazas
  • Empty lots, yards, and other underused spaces
  • Laundromats, grocery stores, and other stores where kids are brought in
  • Buildings, fences, and walls
  • Signs, benches, bus stops, and other street furniture
What changes could you make to your community?
Your change can be temporary or permanent:
  • Paint a surface
  • Start a stand or booth
  • Do something mobile (e.g., carts, trucks)
  • Add decorations or "furniture"
  • Launch a pop-up
  • Create and installation