Help us create a

Adventure Playground

Give refugee kids and their new friends the space to play

"Imagine a world with more playgrounds and less battlegrounds. If we want to live in a world where all our children are free to explore and express their inner artist and scientist, we must create it before anymore playgrounds disappear, and the battlegrounds continue to spread."

The first Refuge Playground project will be a refugee playspace in Germany.

Will you help us create it?

Why a play space for refugees and their new friends?

Today, over thirty million kids around the world are displaced from their homes and families due to war, conflict, persecution, occupation, natural disaster, deportation, child trafficking, slavery, military enlistment and food shortages. Not since World War II have there been so many kids displaced around the world, the majority of which are under the age of twelve.

Those kids remain scared, deprived and even depressed because their basic needs continue to go unmet. But if we do not meet all their needs, especially when it comes to trauma, the negative impacts and the costs to those kids, their families and the communities they call home will go on for many years to come.

Who's behind this?

Refuge playground is an inititaive of play experts and social activists from around the world who provide dedicated play spaces with trained play workers and therapists for refugee kids and their new friends to create and build their own playground. Join us.

We are pleased to announce that Germany's Bund der Jugendfarmen und Aktivspielplätze e.V., (National Federation of Youthfarms and Adventure Playgrounds) has joined us.


Hans-Joerg Lange

CEO Bund der Jugendfarmen und Aktivspielplaetze e.V. (german federation of city farms and adventure playgrounds). Co-founder of the European Federation of City Farms (EFCF), Board member of Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Offene Jugendbildung Baden-Württemberg

Get in touch

Stuart Brown

Stuart Brown, Internal Medicine Specialist, Psychiatrist, Clinical Researcher and Author of Play from the United States

Get in touch

Judith Fischer

Dutch campaign coordinator and social justice advocate.

Get in touch

Joe L. Frost

Professor Emeritus, University of Texas, Child Development and Playground Expert from the United States.

Get in touch

Marcus Veerman

Australian with a background in primary education, outdoor leadership, and design-build learning, Marcus founded Playground Ideas after spearheading the construction of 40 bespoke playgrounds along the Thai/Burma border.

Get in touch

David Whitebread

David Whitebread, University of Cambridge Professor, Developmental Cognitive Psychologist and Early Years Specialist, Head of the Lego Foundation's Play Matters Centre for Research at Cambridge, from the UK.

Get in touch

Peter Gray

Research professor from the United States, author and columnist on comparative, evolutionary, developmental, and educational psychology.

Get in touch

Penny Wilson

Seminal author in the field of playwork based in the UK. Master playworker who facilitates children's play in adventure playgrounds, parks, and other play spaces.

Get in touch

Alison Bryant

Chief Play Officer & CEO at PlayLab and Chief Play Officer & CEO at PlayScience, Senior research Director at MTV Networks and Nickelodeon.

Get in touch

Frank Forencich

Exuberant Animal. Internationally-recognized expert on health and human performance from the United States.

Get in touch

Kwame Brown

Father, Neuroscientist, Psychology Professor, Social Activist from the United States.

Get in touch

Brent Hutcheson

Director of Hands on Technologies and Care for Education NPO in South Africa. LEGO Foundation partner for Africa.

Get in touch

Maria Saridaki

Co-Founder at Athens Plaython and Manager in Greece, Research and Development at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

Get in touch

Kathy Wong

Development Officer from Hong Kong, Executive Board International Play Association promoting the Child's Right to Play, and Executive Director of the Playright Children's Play Association.

Get in touch

Monika Jephcott

President at Play Therapy International (PTI) based in Germany and works at CEO at Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy (APAC) and Chief Executive and Clinical Director at Play Therapy UK (PTUK).

Get in touch

Edgard Gouveia Júnior

Urban specialist, play architect, activist, and social media game designer from Brazil.

Get in touch

Hitoshi Shimamura

Founder and Director of Tokyo Play, VP International Play Association and Director of the Japan Adventure Playpark Association.

Get in touch

Bethe Almeras

Grass Stain Guru, Play practitioner, award-winning author, web producer, and eLearning designer based in the United States.

Get in touch

Richard Garcia

Fire starter

Get in touch

Miguel Sicart

Play scholar from Denmark with a background in philosophy of technology, literature, and game studies.

Get in touch
Img 6385

Kai Brouwer

Co-founder of Funbase, a little startup from the Netherlands that empowers young adults to play and reconnect with their inner child.

Get in touch

Erika van der Bent

Freelance designer and art director digital media with 15 years of experience. Specialized in interfaces for the web, mobile devices, interactive experiences and branding.

Get in touch

Eva Galesloot

Freelance illustrator (and sometimes animator) based in the Netherlands. She graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam in 2009 with a major in illustration.

Get in touch

Robin Brouwer

Web developer and co-founder of Funbase, a little startup from the Netherlands that empowers young adults to play and reconnect with their inner child.

Get in touch

Why a 'refuge' playground?

Play is a fundamental form of therapy for traumatized children. A tried and tested approach calls for the creation of a dedicated play space with trained play workers and therapists that can ensure a safe and caring environment for kids to freely express themselves through the play process.

In fact, in the aftermath of World War II there were hundreds of thousands of displaced kids all across Europe. So international humanitarian organizations, government officials, and child welfare experts first created playgrounds for from waste material as a successful intervention to heal Europe's displaced kids during post-war reconstruction.

Now, imagine if today we repurposed, reclaimed and recycled loose-part materials including those taken from the battleground for a playspace. There refugee and German kids could create and build a playground where future artists and scientists could freely explore new possibilities beyond their surroundings.

Boy plays in refugee camp at old Nazi airport hangar in Berlin
In Berlin children play in the aftermath of World War II
One of the over thirty million children displaced around the world

"We've made an old solution better."

Adventure Playgrounds served as a refuge to heal the hundreds of thousands of Europe's 'lost children' displaced by World War II

Want to know more?

Here are some blog posts that go into more detail about the Refuge Playground project:

What is a 'refuge' playground?

A Refuge Playground provides a safe and caring play space for all kids, especially those displaced from their homes and families due to war, conflict, persecution, occupation, natural disaster, deportation, child trafficking, slavery, military enlistment, food shortages and disease. In the play space, trauma trained workers facilitate access to recycled, reclaimed and repurposed physical loose-part materials and tools for those displaced kids and their new friends to freely express themselves in the play process. There kids of all backgrounds and experiences including those of the host community come together to envision new possibilities beyond their surroundings by creating, building and developing their own playground.

You can help us by:

  • Backing our crowd funding campaign (PayPal donations here)
  • Securing corporate sponsorships, foundation or association grants
  • Providing the loose-part materials and tools
  • Volunteering to help us build the play space
  • Sharing our site, videos, blogs, Facebook page and tweets
  • Any other help to bring the project to life