April 2013

A Community Closes Its Streets for Play

children playingchildren playing

children playing
It is important for children in cities to have safe places to play outside.

Do you like to play outside? In some cities, it is hard for kids to find nearby places to play. City streets are often too full of traffic for them to play safely. Two women in Bristol, England, wanted to change that. Alice Ferguson and Amy Rose wanted to let their children play in the street. That’s what they liked to do when they were young. So, they started a group called Playing Out.

Ferguson and Rose made a plan for their neighborhood. They talked to their neighbors. They got permission to close their street, Birch Road, to cars for a few hours. Then everyone came outside to play. Children rode their bikes and scooters in the street. They drew pictures with chalk. Some kids played soccer, which is called “football” in England. Adults talked to their neighbors. Everyone liked being outside and having fun together. Ferguson and Rose started closing Birch Road once a month so the children could have some street play. Now about 30 other streets in their community are also closing for kids to play.

Other people around the world are helping children find safe places to play outside. In Victoria, Australia, people are working to turn streets into places to play. In New York City, the Play Streets program helps neighborhoods close streets to traffic for children. Where do kids play in your neighborhood?

Image credit: ©Mike Kemp/In Pictures/Corbis
Question 1
Why did Alice Ferguson and Amy Rose start Playing Out?

Question 2
In which city did Playing Out get its start?

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