Just Play Project creates time + space for children's right to play.

community by community. we train and employ playworkers, empower youth participation in the planning + design of public places, and enable cross-sector collaborations to create policies for the provision of play.




Playworkers support children to create their own spaces and opportunities for play. Through extensive training playworkers become the people who make play happen. The project sees playworkers as a transformative force in the work to ensure all children have the right to play.


participation in places


Empowering youth voice in decisions affecting their lives is central to the project. As 'animators' of youth's potential, we develop structures for youth organizing + support youth to change their public places and improve the communities in which we all live.


Policies for play


Communities provide policies for children regarding education and work - but not play. Working with local governments, community organizations, and advocacy groups - the project hopes to create policies for the provision of play at the local, state, and national levels.


"The playworker sees children through the lens of play."

- Penny Wilson


Play is a set of behaviors that are freely chosen, personally directed, and intrinsically motivated. Playworkers manage and create spaces for children’s play, in a way that is as invisible and unobtrusive to children as possible. Establishing a profession of local community playworkers builds advocates and professionals who know of the importance of play in all children's lives... and become a tranformative force to provide play for all.


inclusion of youth voice in planning + design of outdoor public space

We didn’t think when we petitioned the City for a playground 2 years ago that it would actually happen. I was only 12 and I didn’t think the City would take me seriously… but now it is happening + it’s exciting! It’s fun to be helping out in our community.

– Teen planner + designer of “The Hangout”

210 Hancock Project...


Mayor Svante Myrick proclaimed November 6, 2017 as Northside United Youth Empowerment Day in the City of Ithaca! (Teen Designers of 'The Hangout')

Mayor Svante Myrick proclaimed November 6, 2017 as Northside United Youth Empowerment Day in the City of Ithaca! (Teen Designers of 'The Hangout')

Creating policies for the provision of play in public spaces.


Playworkers are the transformative people behind this project. Youth participation in the environmental design of public places for play is powerful. And local, state, and federal policies send a message that this work is valued + can influence population-level change. Policies for Play are needed in the US + we're getting started here in Ithaca, New York...

4-14-15 Parks Commission Agenda.jpg