All Blog Posts (247)

Play and Friendship Start Early

Zoe and Anais Have a Blast in Paris---

Playgrounds are not only where fun takes place, but where friendships are born, social interaction skills are developed, and healthy bodies grow. From the looks on the faces of these two "petites filles" the fun and friends part is happening before our very… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on March 19, 2009 at 9:30am — No Comments

Where do the children play?

Take a look at the City of Atlanta with the parks that contain playgrounds in blue. That leaves a lot of space with no public playgrounds for our children to play in!

Here you see the City of Atlanta with all parks that contain playgrounds in blue, parks with no playgrounds are in green.

The green areas in this map are parks with no… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on March 17, 2009 at 9:00am — No Comments

You'd never catch me on THIS slide!

I stumbled on this picture in the Library of Congress archives. It only says that it is "Summer on a children's city playground, c. 1926". I'm having the best time researching the history of playgrounds and am glad that we've made some progress in playground design and… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on March 9, 2009 at 2:54pm — 3 Comments

Looking Ahead to the Great American Backyard Camp Out

Now that most of the Great Atlanta Snow of 2009 has melted, it's time to start thinking about a great annual event from the National Wildlife Federation: Great American Backyard Camp Out This year the date is June 27, 2009...but, feel free to practice camping A LOT between now and then! :-)

The Great American Backyard Campout® provides an opportunity for everyone to relive… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on March 4, 2009 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Ask a Child How to Design a Playground!

Don't know how to start designing a playground? Ask a child! The picture above is drawn by Marius, a 5th grade student at Bethune Elementary School. Talk about talent and great skills of observation! Look at the amazing attention to detail and the original thought. Marius even realized that if you're going to play that much you need a water fountain. We think Marius is one talented young man. Congratulations on a job well… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on February 20, 2009 at 11:32am — No Comments

Science Supports Importance of Play

The importance of play shows up on the cover of Scientifc American Mind magazine. Check it out: The Serious Need for Play

Free, imaginative play is crucial for normal social, emotional and cognitive development. It makes us better adjusted, smarter and less stressed. Key concepts presented:

- Childhood play is crucial for social, emotional and cognitive… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on February 6, 2009 at 8:30pm — No Comments

New Ideas in Playspace Design

Check out Imagination Playground in Time magazine this week!

There is such an excitement about the new ideas in playspace design and little is as innovative as the Imagination Playground being built in Burling Slip in New York City. The very new (yet very old) idea of loose parts is what makes this such an opportunity for creative play for kids. In order to… Continue

Added by Cynthia Gentry on February 3, 2009 at 1:30pm — No Comments

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

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Playworks 2010-2011 PLAYBOOK

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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