University of Tasmania

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'But that’s just for little kids': meeting the needs of older children and adolescents in parks and playgrounds

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 21:39 authored by Wood, L, Karen Martin, Christian, H, Carter, M
Older children and adolescents (‘tweens’ and teens) are often overlooked in typical park and playground design and infrastructure, and much of the literature and community consultation relating to park features and planning is ‘through adult eyes’ (1). Moreover, adolescents are sometimes intentionally designed out of parks and open space, due to societal misperceptions about the presence of teenagers in public places (2). Yet while the nature and terminology of ‘play’ may change as adolescence approaches, interactional and recreational spaces for young people of all ages are just as important for their mental and physical wellbeing (3). They still need places where they can socialise, be physically active, have fun, ‘hang out’, experience nature, escape from indoors, or just be free from the encumbrances of an increasingly adult world (1). This paper presents findings from ‘Child’s Play’, a recent Western Australian study exploring child, parent and stakeholders’ perspectives about parks, playgrounds and outdoor play spaces. In particular, the presentation focuses on:
  • the views of older children (10 years upwards) and adolescents regarding parks and outdoor play;
  • the perspectives of those involved in designing and maintaining parks and playgrounds, including
  • barriers (real and perceived) to catering for older children and adolescents in parks and public open space, and some strategies for overcoming these;
  • emergent discrepancies between child/adolescent and parent/stakeholder views and preferences;
  • advocacy and community collaboration as strategies for promoting the recreational, social and play needs of older children and adolescents.


Publication title

Proceedings of the 2011 International Conference on Research into Inclusive Outdoor Environments for All




1 piece- abstract


Faculty of Education


Open space

Place of publication


Event title

International Conference on Reseach into Inclusive Outdoor Environments for All

Event Venue

University of Edinburgh

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Early childhood education; Inclusive education

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