All Blog Posts (240)

Play In the Dark for EARTH HOUR - March 28, 2009 @ 8:30

Turn out your lights for the 3rd annual global EARTH HOUR and have a little fun playing in the dark. Cities all around the world are going dark on Saturday, March 28th, 2009 from 8:30 to 9:30 PM local time to send the word that we can, and will, take action on climate change.

Earth Hour started in 2007 with 2 million businesses and families turning out their lights in Sydney, Australia. Last… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on February 2, 2009 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Skatistan Gives Afghan Children Some Play Time

Skateboarding in Afghanistan Provides a Diversion from Desolation Interesting story about an Australian fellow who introduced skateboarding in Kabul. Be sure to watch the video.

Added by Cynthia Gentry on January 26, 2009 at 5:06pm — No Comments

Treehouse Progress at Camp Twin Lakes

Joined the architects from Lord, Aeck and Sargent at Camp Twin Lakes today. There has been great progress on the treehouse project. So exciting to stand on the floor and get a sense of what it will feel like once it's done. The second floor and base of the green roof will go in next week. Beautiful day.

They were… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on January 23, 2009 at 8:30pm — No Comments

Need a Playground?

It is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and I can think of no greater honor to his memory than to transform the day into a national day of service permanently. I am moved to tears by the thought of a country committed to working together to improve the lives of all.

Working together to improve the lives of our children is at the core of the Atlanta Taskforce on Play (ATOP). Over the next couple months, we will be reaching out to… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on January 19, 2009 at 12:30pm — No Comments

A Treehouse Grows at Camp Twin Lakes

Take a crazy idea add some stunningly talented architects (Lord, Aeck & Sargent), an inspiring home (Camp Twin Lakes), and some generous donors and you come up with something like this:

One year (and a lot of hard work for a lot of people) later it is all becoming real. Take a look at our treehouse this week:…


Added by Cynthia Gentry on January 8, 2009 at 11:00pm — No Comments

ATOP wins grant from Wachovia Trust

The Atlanta Taskforce on Play (ATOP) is starting the new year early with a grant from Wachovia Trust for the Henry L. Defoor Charitable Trust. The $7,500 grant will be used for new play equipment at Bethune Elementary School. ATOP has been working with the school and students' parents, Georgia Tech, Khaatim El of Atlanta Board of Education, and Coca-Cola to build a beautiful playspace for the children. The build day will be in September 2009.… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on December 15, 2008 at 11:30am — No Comments

Let's fill Atlanta with WONDER-FULL playspaces!

I love unique playspaces. There is a term for them that I love, too... genius loci. Have you ever been to a place that really felt special? A place that you remembered and savored and couldn't wait to return to? Like a fort you built as a child that when you crawled inside transported you to a special world? THAT is genius loci and THAT is what our playspaces should be like. No more "same ol', same ol'," If you're going to build… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on December 4, 2008 at 4:44pm — No Comments

Stunning quotes on the importance of play

"...What is shared by mass murderers, felony drunk drivers, starving children, head banging laboratory animals, anxious overworked students and all reptiles?…They don't play. What do most Nobel Laureates, historically renowned creative artists, successful multi-career entrepreneurs and animals of superior intelligence have in common?… They are full of play throughout their lives. "

"Play and games seem necessary for the development of community, which requires mutual trust,… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on November 23, 2008 at 10:46am — No Comments

Urban Play Quest: London, Day 5

Venture Centre

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

London, England

The Adventure Playground at the Venture Centre is dotted with these colorful figures painted by the children.

Behind the playground construction is a slide coming off of the roof. Kids climb up the caged… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on November 3, 2008 at 10:30pm — No Comments

Urban Play Quest: London, Day 4

London Eye

I admit I never got around to taking a ride on the London Eye, but I bet the views are terrific.

Many thanks to Dr. Ute Navidi of London Play for spending so much time with me. I learned more in that afternoon than I have in a long time. Thank you, Ute, for the generous gift of your… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on November 3, 2008 at 8:30pm — No Comments

Urban Play Quest: London, Day 3

Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground

Kensington Gardens

The Princess Diana playground was recommended by every person who made a recommendation for this trip, and they were so right! It is based on the theme of the Peter Pan story. It was stunning. Fun, unique, mysterious, magical, beautifully (but not stuffily) landscaped. At one point I was brought close to tears it was so wonderful. I arrived before any children were let in.… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on November 3, 2008 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Urban Play Quest: Paris, Day 5

Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris France

I travel all the way to Paris and where do I end up but at the place I started. Everyone has been telling me about their favorite playground at Jardin du Luxembourg. So I go there today and what do I see but "My" fire engine from the Cunard Memorial Playground in Virginia-Highland in Atlanta, the project that got me hooked on playgrounds in the first place. Sometimes something tells you you're in the… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on October 24, 2008 at 9:00am — No Comments

Urban Play Quest: Paris, Day 4

Parc de la Villette, Paris, France

The climbing, sliding dragon is temporarily closed for restoration. I hope to return some day if they let grown-ups up there.

Parc de la Villette is a sprawling 136 acre park in north east Paris. Just over 20 years old, the park was built on what was a run-down area of slaughterhouses and warehouses. Now it is home to a giant dragon slide, ziplines, unique play structures, giant air mattresses, huge… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on October 23, 2008 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Urban Play Quest: Paris, Day 3

Jardin d' Acclimatation, in west Paris

I can hear parents all over Atlanta freaking out at this picture! It's every bit as tall as it looks and the kids were happy and proud as they reached new heights. The parents were cool, calm and collected and didn't seem the least bit worried. The children stayed at their own comfort level and moved up when they were ready. It was great to watch.…


Added by Cynthia Gentry on October 22, 2008 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Urban Play Quest: Paris, Day 2

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 (Paris, France)

This is "Laocoon" by French sculptor, Etienne Bossut at the Musee du Rodin. Looks like it belongs on a playground to me!…


Added by Cynthia Gentry on October 21, 2008 at 12:24pm — No Comments

Urban Play Quest: Paris, Day 1

Monday, 10.20.08 (Paris, France):

Arrived in Paris today on a quest for playground inspiration. We've got 5 days of non-stop play hunting here starting tomorrow morning in the Jardin du Luxembourg. I already love that park from a grown-up's point of view. Looking forward to seeing it with different eyes. Miniature sail boats, merry-go-round, interesting play… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on October 20, 2008 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Play Goes to the Hospital

One of the Great Atlanta Play Day activities that I am most excited about is the "Camp To Go" event that Camp Twin Lakes held at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. Below is a note describing the wonderful day! Thanks so much to Camp Twin Lakes for being a part of a very playful day in Atlanta!

Hi all!

Camp To Go this past Saturday at Egleston was a great success! We set up the (now)… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on October 6, 2008 at 10:00pm — No Comments


Saturday, 9.27.08: Play Day was a wonderful success all over Atlanta. We started small our first year and were thrilled by the feedback from those who participated. We are already planning for next year's Great Atlanta Play Day on Saturday, September 26, 2009.

Play Day press conference with Councilmember Kwanza Hall, Councilmember Mary Norwood, Commissioner Dianne Harnell Cohen and others…


Added by Cynthia Gentry on September 27, 2008 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Don't Tell the Kids - Play Is Good for Them

Don't Tell the Kids: Play Is Good For Them

Vegetables, a good night's sleep....and play?

If play were a pill the pharmaceutical company holding the patent would be printing money. How much would you pay for a pill that made your child less likely to become obese, suffer less from ADHD symptoms, develop improved socialization skills, become a better assessor of risk, think more creatively, break out into spontaneous bouts of laughter, and be generally healthier… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on September 26, 2008 at 9:46am — No Comments

Welcome to the home of ATOP, The Atlanta Taskforce on Play

Welcome to, the new online home of the Atlanta Taskforce on Play (ATOP), a non-profit organization dedicated to making certain every Atlanta child has easy access to fun, beautiful , creative and spirit-soaring playspaces.

Over the coming months this blog will describe great play spots around Atlanta, innovations in playspace design, “play voids” that need to be filled, Play Champions doing great work, and the Great Atlanta Play Day and Backyard Campout. But, I’d like… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on September 1, 2008 at 7:00pm — No Comments

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Pretty much everything you ever needed to know about play.

And, of course, KaBOOM! Find a playground, plan a Play Day, how to build a playground, and much, much more.

Playgroundology, an emerging social science. 


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Ethan E., our first donor


Ethan's grandmother gave him a gift of $25. He gave $20 to ATOP so more Atlanta kids will have great places to play. He kept $5 to get something cool for himself. We think Ethan is pretty cool!

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