Playing Out

Simply ‘playing out’ – having the freedom to step out of your own front door and kick a ball about – is nothing new. There are still some streets and estates where this happens and that’s great. But the reality is that for various reasons, most children have far less freedom to play out than their parents or grandparents had. Yet though the world may have changed for today’s children, their need for free play close to their homes remains just as strong. And we think this dwindling freedom means that they, their families and communities are losing out on something important.

In response to this problem, we developed a model where neighbours close their street to through traffic for a couple of hours, creating a safe space for children to play out. More detail about how this works can be found here. It has now become possible in many areas to ‘play out’ like this on a regular basis but even a one-off session can have a dramatic effect. In short, this model:

  • Gives children a chance to play out freely and safely on their own street.
  • Builds the conditions needed for street play to be normal again (safer streets, more connected communities, safety in numbers)
  • Creates a vision of streets as vibrant, playable spaces


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