The Neighbourhood Play Project

A project to get kids playing outside together in their local areas again, active, social and away from screens.

What is the Neighbourhood Play Project?

It is no secret that over the past 30 years, childhood has drastically changed. Children are quickly losing interest in a world beyond their front door. The way this generation plays is vastly different to their parents.

We went on a mission: to see if we could find families willing to go on a journey with us, to try to activate their neighbourhoods as places for children to play. But is it possible in this modern world?

After months of planning, searching, connecting, playing and exploring this topic, and exploring many average Australian suburban neighbourhoods; after facing many challenges, having many tough conversations, and discovering hard-hitting facts surrounding children’s neighbourhood play, we have the answer…

The Neighbourhood Play Project documentary is the product of our research – a timely and important documentary that is centered on two of our most precious resources…. our children and where we live.

The Neighbourhood Play Project is a powerful, insightful, heart-aching, and unflinching examination of why neighbourhoods have become the canary in the coal mine regarding the ways that kids play and the health of our communities.

And, we managed to have lots of fun along the way…

Watch the trailer

How can you watch The Neighbourhood Play Project?

We here at Nature Play QLD think that this journey and it’s findings are so important to spark conversation, we’ve made it free for you to watch.

We’ve also created two versions for you depending on where you are on your Neighbourhood Play Journey.

Full-length feature documentary

After a successful premiere of The Neighbourhood Play Project at the Childhood Summit 2019, we want to spread the importance of neighbourhood play as far as we can. We discuss the facts with thought-leaders in their field such as Dr. Rachel Sharman, we talk to the local parents about what might be the barriers to outside play, but most importantly we talk to the kids and let them lead their own adventure of neighbourhood exploration.

Follow the journey with us as we identify two wonderful families and their aim to bring back neighbourhood play for their kids. Watch as they overcome setbacks, conquer fears and make surprising discoveries as they rediscover neighbourhood play.

What's your neighbourhood story? - 30 minute film

A 30 min film to spark your neighbourhood play journey. What’s Your Neighbourhood Story is based on the Neighbourhood Play Documentary and has been designed as a resource for neighbourhoods, workplaces, councils, and developers.

How could you use this short film to inspire action?

1. Hold a Lunch and Watch session at your workplace (this short film is a terrific way to learn what is the current state of play for children).
2. Send the link in your school, community, workplace Newsletter (it is free and we would love to spread it far and wide).
3. Contact Nature Play to arrange a special forum involving the film (we are a small team but always open to new ideas to advocate and make improvements for children).
4. Have a conference coming up? Hold a screening and discussion session

How did the project come about?

In just one generation, the average Australian childhood has shifted from a largely outdoors, active, independent, social, community orientated play; to a mostly indoors, sedentary, technologically immersed, highly structured, fearful and risk adverse play space. The Neighbourhood Play Project was an exploration of this issue to help activate local communities.

Commencing with a Community Forum in Caboolture (occurred in April 2018), expressions of interest were gathered to identify people who would like to participate in a community project to activate their street and with their children. To ‘walk their local neighbourhood’ with other local children to learn more how children play outdoors.

A neighbourhood play event was held at a local park to invite local children and their families to participate (July 2018). Local children walked with a facilitator over several weekend sessions with sessions focussed on Fun, Friends, Freedom and Fluency (challenge). Riding to each others homes, exploring the wild green spaces and having a final neighbourhood party to celebrate. The process was filmed and the project culminated in the creation of a documentary that shines a light on neighbourhood play and also acts as a pilot to help other communities activate play in their area.

Spread the word

We are currently working on ways to spread The Neighbourhood Play Project documentaries! If you are a community group, education group, local council or just interested in learning from our findings, Click the link below to enquire about a screening or watch the documentaries on Vimeo.

Meet our play champions!

Marissa at Wamuran

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There are 4 of us in our Family! My name is Marissa, I’m a wife to my hubby Graham, and a Mother to our 2 beautiful children, Mayla and Zayden. I work part time as Professor JellyBean, delivering hands on experiments to kids and I’m also volunteer at my daughter’s school. Mayla our daughter is 7years old, she is such a kind caring friend. Zayden our little boy is 3, he loves getting outside and being active. We have been living in Wamuran for 4 years now and I am super excited to be taking on the ‘Neighbourhood Play Project’! I volunteered to be a part of this project because I love my community and I love attending community events and giving the kids an opportunity to interact with others. I want to build on the Community we have and keep the ‘Community Spirit’ alive. I would love my kids to connect with others in the community and give them opportunities to play freely. I think it’s vital for kids to get outdoors and develop a sense of interconnectedness with nature.

Tracy at Caboolture

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Hello, I am Tracy and I moved to Caboolture to make it home after growing up in Auckland, NZ. I have an education background supporting supporting families. My husband, Andrew and I together with our two kids, Sarah (16) and Zayden (5) are making our home at Riverbank Estate. It is an amazing place to live, its new, its fresh, and best of all we are seeing kids, adults and furry friends out and about interacting with each other. I am keen to encourage neighbourhood play to build a rich community.