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Reintroducing adventure into children's outdoor play environments


Adventure playgrounds foster healthy child development

In this article, Staempfi provides an overview of what adventure playgrounds are and the role that they can play in enhancing child development. She discusses the changing nature of children’s play, and the history of adventure playgrounds and their recent prominence in many European countries, as well as variations in adventure playground philosophy, structure, and setting. Staempfi highlights the unique role of trained professionals or playworkers at adventure playgrounds that serve as unobtrusive guides to facilitate children’s development through play. She also discusses the developmental benefits of adventure playgrounds as well as positive community development outcomes. Staempfi examines the issue of safety and risk on playgrounds and the influence of society’s values, beliefs, and legal system in shaping the development of adventure playgrounds. In concluding her article, Staempfi makes a number of recommendations for future research and highlights the importance of educational efforts to build awareness about the developmental benefits of adventure play.


Staempfli, M. B., (2009). Reintroducing adventure into children's outdoor play environments. Environment and Behavior, 41(2), 268-280.

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