Adventure Playground in Denver, Opening Summer 2018
Adventure Playground in Denver, Opening Summer 2018
A free, community-backed play space where kids can imagine, build and destroy. Developing independent, capable risk takers through play
A free, community-backed play space where kids can imagine, build and destroy. Developing independent, capable risk takers through play Read more
FreeRange Playground, a Colorado-based nonprofit, is bringing an adventure playground to Denver in June 2018.
We are partnering with Great Work Montessori School in Lakewood to create a space where kids ages 5-12 can imagine, build and destroy with limited adult interaction to help them build the skills and creativity they need to become capable and confident adults.
The adventure playground model is powerful. It's such a welcome break from more sterile, safety-at-all-costs, educational experiences that are so prevalent for children. This concept isn't new - adventure playgrounds have been around since the 1940s and modern iterations exist around the world and in various pockets around the US.
We think the kids in Denver are ready for one, too. Your contribution to this project will let us know that a space like this will truly be used and loved by our community.
What's an adventure playground?
Unlike standard playgrounds with adult-designed structures, adventure playgrounds constantly evolve alongside the imaginations of the children who play in them.
A milk crate, old keyboard, boxes and tubes become a space station. When the mission is complete, they are pulled apart and added to some tires and duct tape to become a race car. And when the race is run, they join wood and tarps to become a wilderness fort.
Children are naturally creative, curious, and capable. An adventure playground is an unstructured play space which enables kids to cultivate these traits, helping them to become confident and independent adults.
In these spaces, kids engage in intrinsically motivated play to imagine, build and destroy as they see fit. They navigate risks (not to be confused with hazards), solve problems and collaborate. They get to have fun with minimal adult supervision and enjoy the benefits of mixed age play.
What's a playworker?
Trained playworkers are key to the success of any adventure playground.
We think of playworkers as similar to lifeguards - they keep an eye out to uphold the one rule of our space while allowing kids as much freedom as possible to explore and create.
The RULE: "Have as much fun as you can while you are here, and try not to hurt yourself or anyone else."
The playworker's role is to help facilitate play and manage the space in an invisible and unobtrusive manner. They help kids learn new skills, assist when asked, and introduce new kids to the site. They don't teach or instruct, they simply allow kids freedom to own their play experience.
Who's behind all this?
FreeRange Playground was started in 2016 by a group of six Denver residents.
We are parents and community members who want to see a place like this exist for our own kids to play in.
All of the work our board has done for this organization has been on an entirely volunteer basis - it is truly a labor of love. As such, 100% of donated funds go directly to furthering our mission:
We develop the next generation of independent and capable risk takers through the power of play.
In 2016 and 2017 we hosted pop-up events around the city to test the adventure playground concept with kids and parents here in Denver. We were delighted by the great turnouts and positive response.
Now it's time to take this concept to the next level.
What's the plan?
Great Work Montessori has provided us with a space to create an installation for the Summer of 2018. Opening day will be the first week of June.
FreeRange Playground will be open from 12pm to 4pm each Saturday throughout the summer and all kids ages 5-12 are welcome free of charge.
A summer installation allows us to be open for more hours throughout the summer and reach more kids than we could with pop-up events.
It also allows us to widen the scope of materials we provide. Kids will have access to larger materials, but the site will also allow us to provide a different class of materials we couldn't offer at pop-ups, including simple tools (hand drills, hammers, screwdrivers and the like) and items like wood and paint.
With these tools, kids have the chance to learn a host of new skills and constructions have the potential to be more advanced and long-lasting.
We've got the space, and thanks to some early donors we have some of our funding handled, too. But we need your help to get us the rest of the way.
Help us bring adventure play to Colorado!
In order to launch a free adventure playground in Denver, we need to cover the remaining costs of staffing, insurance, and site setup.
HIRE FOUR PLAYWORKERS
Our pop-up events were run entirely by volunteers, but we need a trained staff of playworkers to keep this space running smoothly. Hiring and training a manager and three playworkers will allow us to provide more immersive experiences for risk taking, collaboration and problem solving with more advanced materials and a diverse, mixed aged group of children.
PROVIDE LIABILITY INSURANCE
There are statistically fewer injuries and accidents on adventure playgrounds than on traditional playgrounds, but we need liability insurance to protect the site, our staff and your kids.
SET UP THE ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND
Our setup budget will cover the cost of a storage shed, fencing, and materials for the site.
- Hand tools: hand drills, hammers, nails, saws, screwdrivers, etc.
- Large items: appliances, furniture, cable spools, wood, barrels, etc.
- Smaller items: tubes, cardboard boxes, wooden planks, fabric, rope, tape, carpet tiles, PVC pipe, pens, paint, crates, etc.
Any additional money raised will go toward hiring additional staff, expanding our materials, and increasing the number of days that we're open.
FreeRange Playground has 501c3 tax exempt status, which means your donation is fully tax deductible.
Risks and challenges
Thanks to the pop-up events we've held over the last two years, we are well practiced in how to put together a good adventure playground, how to manage the flux of kids coming and going, and how to keep things safe and sane for everyone.
The added range of materials we will provide at this space, however, will require that our playworkers receive more in-depth training. Additional training and staffing will allow FreeRange Playground to accommodate even more children in the space at one time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)