Adventure playgrounds

8-15 year old children and adolescents often lack age-appropriate activities, non-formal learning opportunities and proper outdoor spaces. As a result, young people’s schedules are overbooked, or they spend too much time alone. Often, their physical, mental and social health suffer.
Adventure playgrounds, which are spaces for youth designed to provide various opportunities for building, creating, communicating, moving, and playing, offer kids the challenges they need. Such spaces might be integrated into school yards, youth and community centres, but can also be built temporarily for festivals and other events. Junkyard playgrounds support creativity, initiative, autonomy, and social skills.
An adventure playground ('kolahoov' in Estonian) is a playscape made by children for themselves. It's essential elements are autonomous free play and loose parts.
It has been called a “laboratory for democracy” in research papers: it is a place where the kids/youngsters can take initiative and autonomously create their own worlds out of ‘junk’- pieces of different materials - wood, bricks, tires, rope, paint, hammers, nails, saws, fabric, netting, plastic pipes etc.

It's also a place for healty risk-taking, which is an essential skill when growing up.

The concept of a ‘adventure playground’ (also ‘construction playground’ or 'junk playground') is well-known in countries like the United Kingdom, Denmark (‘byggelegeplads’), Germany, Switzerland (‘Kinderbaustelle’) and recently the US.
Building the first adventure playground of Estonia, Tartu 2022

The ABC of Adventure Playground in Russian, Lithuanian and Latvian

The ABC of Adventure Playground is a small visual overview of the five foundations of Adventure Playgrounds:
  • loose parts;
  • 16 types of play;
  • open-ended/free play;
  • the role of playworker and steps of intervention;
  • the principles of adventure playgrounds.
The overview is available in Russian, Lithuanian and Latvian, as well as in Estonian.

See more:

A video of the working camp of the first adventure playground in Tartu, Estonia, 2022