Grant #193


May 16, 2016

An adventure playground in New York City.

Today in New York, young people experience a tightly managed urban landscape with rare access to spaces belonging entirely to them. Where are kids free to self-organize, invent, or independently create from their imaginations? Thanks to play:ground, this is all about to change.

On May 28th, a 10,000 square foot space will pop up on Governors Island, allowing kids to imagine a world of their own making and experience self directed play. Modeled after a junkyard, this adventure playground lets children shape their environment using an assortment of materials, tools, water, dirt, and things that others might describe as trash. You won’t find your traditional playground structures here – no shiny metal slides or swings – but planks of woods and hay bales (think seesaws), and old tires. But parents fear not – all this happens under the watchful eyes of trained playworkers who who are on hand to provide assistance when requested. What’s more, this “free play” model has been found to help children build confidence and self-esteem, and develop problem solving and teamwork skills, among other things. In addition to free public hours, play:ground will also offer summer camps and school visits, and hopes to expand beyond Governors Island.

In preparation for the first year of operation, our AWB grant will be put towards fencing and infrastructure costs to help get New York City’s first adventure playground (in over 40 years!) up and running smoothly. Follow the fun on Twitter and Facebook, and be sure to add play:ground to your summer short-list.

Category: Children, Community, Design, Empowerment, Youth



After 11+ years, we’re signing off and closing applications for good. We’ve supported 571 projects with $571,000 in grant dollars. We’re so proud to have celebrated such incredible work. Please visit for more information on other AWESOME chapters! And thanks for sharing so much awesomeness with us.

Team Awesome Without Borders