Portland Free Play & the Adventure Play Movement

Katie works with a local group, Portland Free Play, bringing opportunities for creative, messy, unstructured play experiences to children in the area. Portland Free Play holds free pop-up adventure play events at parks, farms and festivals. Kids can build and paint forts with cardboard, and invent structures with loose parts. We are aligned with the adventure play movement, and strive to uphold the Playwork Principles, which state that All children need to play and have a right to play. Play is a process that is freely chosen, personally directed, and intrinsically motivated. Children determine and control the content and intent of their play. (Summarized from playwales.org.uk) The ideas are based in respect of the child and the belief that children have a right to play and create following their own instincts and interests. We make spaces where children can engage in this kind of play. And we want to start an adventure playground in Portland!

LOOSE PARTS are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. They are materials with no specific set of directions that can be used alone or combined with other materials (from www.readingplay.co.uk).

Benefits of play with loose parts:

  • Child-directed, children can exercise control over their environment
  • Greater engagement of children on the playground
  • Greater inclusion across age and gender
  • Fewer incidents and accidents
  • Greater joy and satisfaction
  • Easier management for playground staff
  • Building critical thinking and communication skills
  • Increased concentration and quicker to settle into class after recess.

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