Tag Archives: Adventure Playground

New group with Berkeley roots aims to get kids outside

Garden teacher Tanya Stiller at Rosa Parks Elementary School shares her love of the natural world with students. Photo: Sharon Danks
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Sharon Danks and her colleagues around the world are doing their best to combat so-called nature deficit disorder in today’s children, many of whom are growing up with competing demands such as “screen time,” and other barriers to a romp in the park such as safety concerns or access issues.

Danks, a planner and partner with Bay Tree Design in Berkeley, recently co-founded the global group International School Grounds Alliance to address an increasingly sedentary and risk-averse generation of young ones who, it is feared, are becoming disconnected from their natural environments. Some children, shuttled from school to home to other indoor activities, simply don’t spend much, if any, time in the great outdoors.

The nascent organization, with members in Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, want kids to experience the fun and games of outside play. … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Play is vital: finding more play and toys in Berkeley

The entrance to The Ark Toy Store on Fourth St. Photo: Steveanne Auerbach
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“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw

Play is alive and well in Berkeley! But not everyone realizes how important playtime is to improving well being, reducing stress, and increasing joyfulness.

We know children and adults need plenty of time to play, using all the senses, stretching the imagination, and making time to be creative. Everyone benefits from varied outdoor play that expands activity, increases use of large muscles, … Continue reading »

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A planner who favors edible, eco education — and risks

Author a green schoolyard advocate Sharon Gamson Danks./Photo: Maia and Ayden Danks.
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In the course of her travels researching her new book Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation, Sharon Gamson Danks was struck by two things: First, the United States is a world leader in school food gardens and Berkeley is firmly at the epicenter of that movement.

And second, the U.S. lags far behind other countries when it comes to building green schoolyards with eco-friendly aspects beyond a produce patch — in other words spaces that encourage play with potential risk. We’re talking less asphalt and metal structures, and more nature nooks and shaded ponds.

An environmental planner, Danks and landscape architect Lisa Howard run Bay Tree Design in Berkeley, which specializes in designing ecological outdoor play spaces. They incorporate ideas Danks picked up from her playground adventures overseas. … Continue reading »

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Kids

Adventure Playground facing budget constraints

Playground
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Berkeley’s Adventure Playground, down at the Marina, is one of the city’s gems. If you have kids and don’t know about it, you must rectify that experience gap as soon as possible.

Not quite immediately though, for the playground has been closed between December 21 and January 1 for budgetary reasons.

Should this temporary closure be a sign that the playground is in any way under threat, this is serious news and Berkeley citizens should take action … Continue reading »

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