We loved it when Mike Lanza turned his front yard into a family room, and we wanted in on the fun when he designed Huntopoly for the neighborhood kids. The good news is that you can implement all of Mike's ideas about turning your neighborhood into a place where kids play with his new book, Playborhood.
Lanza's book is about much more than his own small experiment in Menlo Park, CA. Well-researched and documented, he first offers reasons why outdoor childhood play is vital, and then details quite a few communities who have managed to create community for their children in spite of modern challenges. The final section of the book provides practical suggestions for creating free play in your neighborhood, from moving (replete with concrete suggestions for house hunting in a kid-friendly area) to creating a neighborhood hangout to letting kids roam with cell phones.
Lanza is quite absorbed with his mission to get his kids involved in unstructured, spontaneous outdoor play, and his passion shows in the detail he provides in his book. He offers unique suggestions and sound reasoning backed up with academic and scientific studies. If you've wanted to encourage this kind of play but haven't known where to start, you will find fantastic suggestions here. And, if you haven't been that concerned about outdoor play, Lanza will likely convince you to start considering it. None of his solutions are simple or quick, but they just might change your kids' life in profound ways.
• Playborhood, the book
• Mike's Blog, Playborhood
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