Play is an experience or activity that has an element of pleasure or enjoyment. Play includes outdoors, community, aquatics, sport, games, fitness and health.

The recreation industry encompasses the people, places, organisations and processes that enable play experiences to occur. Our areas of focus, within this definition of the industry, are the parks and open space, community recreation, outdoors, aquatics, and facility-based recreation sectors.

Case Studies

  • Take a look at this document - it highlights the importance of parks and gives community leaders (and park advocates from all corners) tools they can use to both create and improve green spaces and public places for people of all ages.
    Read the full document

  • Take a look at this video; it raises some really interesting points around adventure play vs 'safe' playgrounds

  • Everyone Can Play is a best practice toolkit for local governments, community leaders, landscape architects - or even passionate local residents - to use as a reference guide for creating world-class playspaces that are designed to be inclusive of everyone in the community. Take a look

  • The Wild Play Garden in Sydney is purpose built for kids to go wild in and explore the wonders of nature - including water sprinklers on a hot day! Watch the video to see a great example of wild play.


No girls allowed? A study of access to public play space in Auckland, New Zealand written by Jacquelyn Collins in part fulfilment of the BA(Hons) UrbPlan degree at the University of Auckland.


Designing cities with children and young people: Beyond playgrounds and skate parks, Dr Bishop K; Dr Corkery L, 2017

NZ Standards for Play equipment and surfacing

NZS 5828:2015 - Playground equipment and surfacing

SNZ HB 5828.2:2006 - Supervised Early Childhood Facilities - Playground Equipment and Surfacing Handbook

SNZ HB 5828.1:2006 - General Playground Equipment and Surfacing Handbook

World Urban Parks: Children, Natural & Play

Whether by necessity or choice, more children around the world are living in urban areas. For the first time in human history we are now more urban than rural society, with 55% of the global population now living in cities and growing rapidly.

In just a few generations, access to play opportunities and nature-rich experiences for children have decreased significantly. This global deficit of play and nature has negative impacts for children's healthy development. There is a growing body of research that highlights the many benefits of play and nature experience on children's physical, mental, social cognitive, and emotional health.

Connect with World Urban Parks and find out more

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