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The Land is an “adventure playground,” although that term is maybe a little too reminiscent of theme parks to capture the vibe. K., such playgrounds arose and became popular in the 1940s, as a result of the efforts of Lady Marjory Allen of Hurtwood, a landscape architect and children’s advocate.Allen was disappointed by what she described in a documentary as “asphalt square” playgrounds with “a few pieces of mechanical equipment.” She wanted to design playgrounds with loose parts that kids could move around and manipulate, to create their own makeshift structures.But more important, she wanted to encourage a “free and permissive atmosphere” with as little adult supervision as possible.The idea was that kids should face what to them seem like “really dangerous risks” and then conquer them alone.tramps along the length of a wooden fence, back and forth, shouting like carnival barkers. It opens in half an hour.” Down a path and across a grassy square, 5-year-old Dylan can hear them through the window of his nana’s front room.He tries to figure out what half an hour is and whether he can wait that long.When the heavy gate finally swings open, Dylan, the boys, and about a dozen other children race directly to their favorite spots, although it’s hard to see how they navigate so expertly amid the chaos. ” asks my 5-year-old son, Gideon, who has come with me to visit.
Come tomorrow and the Land might have a whole new topography.
Other than some walls lit up with graffiti, there are no bright colors, or anything else that belongs to the usual playground landscape: no shiny metal slide topped by a red steering wheel or a tic-tac-toe board; no yellow seesaw with a central ballast to make sure no one falls off; no rubber bucket swing for babies.
There is, however, a frayed rope swing that carries you over the creek and deposits you on the other side, if you can make it that far (otherwise it deposits you in the creek).
At the Land, spontaneous fires are a frequent occurrence.
The park is staffed by professionally trained “playworkers,” who keep a close eye on the kids but don’t intervene all that much.