How do we organize a place to play

for children inside a city? 

" Mapped every playground in Eindhoven, on a sunny day, after school time, I wanted to observe children who play.This is what I saw ...


Researched based project

The Location: The Netherlands 

Topic: Homo Ludens _The generation who forgets to play,

while focussing on growth

Goal: A physical space, which will promote & provoke free child driven play for child and parent.

Why: Play becomes extremely rare, while game become compulsory. 

Play promotes mental health. Over the past half century opportunities for children to play, especially to play outdoors with other children, have continually declined. Over the same period, measures of psychopathology in children and adolescents have continually increased. Although the importance of play for physical development, like motor skills and coordination is acknowledged, the opportunities to play have decreased. We need to make space for children to play. 

How: Design a space for play and create an awareness of the importance of play and the difference with game. 

What: An accessible space, which will invite people to appropriate it. Being built up from ready mades, it speaks a reassuring visual language that invites to make the space your own. Giving children space for their own imagination, how?

(1) basic materials (2) no surveillance (3) nothing is finished, no goals, no assignments. (4) no preset games or rules.(5) environment that is physically challenging, promotes the development of motor skills.

(6) environment offering opportunities and stimuli to collaborate

(7) space is suggestive of building an imagined world of one’s own.

This will be accompanied by a magazine with my research on the importance of free child driven play. This publication has been created in collaboration with 8 journalists, who have written an article on the subject. 

Where: A public space within a private organization. 


In Collaboration with:  

Jantje Beton 


Primary School - De Regenboog 

HKU - Department of Journalism 

Fontys - Department of Journalism



A Cultural history of children's room.

Change of perception on play in history 

Historically, with the rise of agriculture, 

children’s opportunities for free play have diminished. 

In many post-hunter-gatherer societies, children had to spend large portions of each day working—typically at domestic and farming tasks and,

with the industrial revolution, in factories. They played when they could, and when they did play, they played freely without adult direction.


In the 1ste half of de 20 thy century, so called golden time for free play. There was prosperity and space for free play. Already fast it changed in the 80’s, upcoming individualism, families became smaller so the children had more pressure to become successful. People felt outdoors more unsafe, so children had to play more inside with adults supervision. 

The Material world of childhood. 


The Material world of childhood. 

The English language, as it well known, makes a distinction between childish „play” and what we might call the mature variety, which it terms a „game”; the implication appears to be that the former is an individual, arbitrary affair (and thus ambiguous), while the latter is based upon a series of conventions shared with other people. 


Play becomes extremely rare, while games become compulsory. 


Thus, adult-directed sports and games for children do not fall into the category of free play. 


I contend that free play’s value for the psychological development of children depends on it weld-directed and intrinsically rewarding nature. 

More specifically, I contend here that play helps children 

(a) develop intrinsic interest and competencies 

(b) learn how to make decisions, solve problems, 

exert self control and follow rules

(c) learn to regulate their emotions 

(d) make friends ande learn to get 

along with others as equals 

(c) experience joy 


Through all of these effect; free play promotes mental health. 

Over the past half century opportunities for children to play, especially to play outdoors with other children, have continually declined. Over the same period, measures of psychopathology in children and adolescents have continually increased.



Now a days, The lengths of the school year and schoolday have increased; more young children attend academically oriented kindergartens and preschools than in times past; and recess time has shrunk and, in some school districts, disappeared completely. 


It can be argued reasonably that children spend so much time watching television, playing computer games and playing by themselves indoors partly because they are not allowed to play freely outdoors, and when they are allowed outdoors, they don’t find the attractive play spaces and groups of other children with whom to play. 



according to different criteria from those they use to shape their own world. 


When we create something for children, we have the feeling that we can finally express ourselves creatively, that we can let go of the demands of adult aesthetic. When creating for children, we fall back on aesthetic that we consider to be funny, imaginative, unusual and also educational, that reminds us of our own childhood. We hardly take into consideration whether our children actually like what we give them, and whether it meets their requirements and needs. The shaping of children’s environment - the nurseries, children’s furniture and toys - is symbolic for the way in which we seal with children. They are not allowed to create the object they need for their own purposes; they are hardly allowed even to select them. In the end, it is always the adult who decides. 


furniture and toys are always a reflection of the way a culture reaches out its young, and of how far it meets their needs, and whether it supports, suppresses or ignores them. 


A rich and plentiful world is not necessarily a good environment for children; on the contrary, it shows rather how much adults strike to be the centre of attention. A child-oriented environment allows children the freedom and space to create, shape an form things, - it all - lows change and decorations that we mitt conducer destructive, ugly or kitsch.

A child - oriented world has its own aesthetics.