SLC.edu / Child Development Institute / Community Outreach

Community Adventure Play Experience

As schools are eliminating recess and children are spending more time inside and in front of television and computer screens, community adventure play experiences play an important role in bringing children back to the basics of play as a way for them to develop initiative, collaborate, and problem-solve using recycled materials in their own communities.

The concepts and philosophies behind community adventure play experiences date back to Europe during World War II when play spaces were limited and the popularity of adventure playgrounds grew when individuals such as Danish landscape architect Carl Theodor Sorensen saw children’s delight in playing with rubble and scraps.

The Child Development Institute provides children opportunities to create their own play experiences out of recycled materials in Westchester County and nearby communities. Along with trained facilitators, CDI provides materials such as loose parts, cardboard boxes, wood, tires, fabric, paint, and other recycled materials collected from the community for play experiences that take place in grassy parks and parking lots. The emphasis is on the importance of free play in the life of the child. Children are encouraged to use their imaginations and the materials to collaborate and test out ideas. Through unstructured free play, cardboard boxes become tunnels, club houses, bird houses, and armor.  Sticks, strings, and cardboard tubes become pulleys to test out laws of physics or dream catchers to catch the dreams and the imagination of the child.

For more information, please contact us at (914) 395-2630 or cdi@sarahlawrence.edu.

Community Adventure Play Experience Information for Parents


Reflections from a Play Facilitator

Cynthia Minakawa, a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College’s Child Development and Art of Teaching programs, is a passionate advocate for learning and living though play, and is very excited to be involved in CDI’s community adventure play experiences as a facilitator. Read about her experience with community adventure play experiences»