Please Tell Us What You Think in the Playborhood Survey!

[The survey is now closed. If you’d like, you can respond to the same survey questions, for future analysis, here.]

Over the past few months, we’ve been having lots and lots of conversations with parents about the issue children’s play. Now, we’d like to collect your thoughts in a systematic way. With your help, we can learn a lot that can help guide what we do here at Playborhood.

So, please CLICK HERE to complete our survey!

We’ll be reporting results here very soon!

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7 Responses to Please Tell Us What You Think in the Playborhood Survey!

  1. I have struggled with this as well ever since I had my baby. How do I give my child the same great “neighborhood” experience I had as a child? I grew up playing in the woods, in the creek and in the streets with other kids in my neighborhood. There was a lot of “open space” and nature around to have all sorts of fun in. Now, I live in a very nice neighborhood in Redwood City, but I never see any kids playing. And there isn’t much open space. It seems all there is for fun for kids are play groups, which I can’t stand the headache of scheduling and running around to. It doesn’t feel natural to me. I need something more organic, free form.

    So I’m moving. I love the Bay Area, and I will miss its culture, it’s diversity, it’s great jobs and restaurants, but I am moving back to my hometown in upstate NY. Why? Because it has the creeks, the woods, the open spaces, the schools that are really good AND you don’t have to be on a wait-list for… It seems more sane with regards to children.

    Anyone with a baby or toddler want to move there with us? We can be neighbors and our kids can play together just by walking over to each others houses…. 🙂 We can form a mini intentional Bay Area community – but with all the advantages of open space, woods, lakes, creeks, etc.

    I’ve been thinking, maybe there are more people like me… (on this site probably!) who would be interested in forming “intentional” communities so their kids can comfortably, easily play together. Maybe we just have to organize it… for instance, group up all the people who are from Ohio back together… or Iowa, or New Hampshire, or whatnot… and group up all those who are interested in moving to those places. I mean, one of the main reasons I don’t want to move to NY is just because the culture is so much different there – I will miss “Bay Area Types.” But if I knew 20 other people who were also “migrating” from here, that would be so cool!

    Maybe your website could be a way to have people connect up with those who are already interested in moving – to intentionally create these great playborhoods…


  2. Mike Lanza says:

    Wowww… Thanks sooo much for your heartfelt post, Ingrid! Reading a post like this makes all our work on Playborhood feel worthwhile.

    And I agree wholeheartedly with your idea of people who want their kids to play figuring out a way to live together. In fact, I’ve been thinking of ways Playborhood can make that happen. I term this enabling “clustering” of families who want their kids to play outside. I’m thinking that we could tackle this as a real estate information service for families.

    Whattya think???

  3. You know, normally that sound so complex to create an intentional community, but really if you just try to get people together who have similar interests and who have kids around the same ages together, I think that could work. Clustering… sounds great! I think your site could help connect people in that way. If you want any help with brainstorming how to do that, I could maybe help you -I used to be a Sr. Producer for interactive agencies (before I had my baby…)

    Oh, I just read the Article “No Fences Make Good Neighbors…” and remembered how in my neighborhood in NY where I grew up, there were NO fences… all the lawns merged together… you could only tell where one yard stopped and the other began if they were mowed at different times – one side having long grass and the other short. 🙂

  4. Mike Lanza says:

    I also grew up in a neighborhood with no fences. I *really* hate all these fences in the Bay Area. My wife and I have been househunting for a while in Palo Alto, and I find the back yards almost always depressing. They’re like well-manicured prisons.

  5. Yea, it’s depressing. Our backyard is one of the nicer ones and overlooks some nature – a ravine – but it’s not the kind of backyard conducive to really playing in. It’s too steep.

    I love Palo Alto too… it’s my favorite town, but it too doesn’t have the best play spaces for kids – and it’s way better than most of the towns here!

    I liked that article about what some did in Berkeley – taking down fences to create bigger backyards and more of a sense of community. Hmmm… I wonder what would happen if a town like Berkeley made it ILLEGAL to have a fence. Would it improve the area? I guess it depends on the neighbors you have and what they have going on in their backyards. 🙂

    For my son’s first birthday I went around to all the neighbors in my neighborhood and invited them to the little party. I thought it would be a good way to get to know people better, and what better occasion than a baby’s birthday? I invited this one couple, a few doors down. The man, who was in his late 60’s, told me that he had never, in his 30 years of living at that house, been invited “randomly” to another neighbors house for an event. Weird!

  6. very interesting site. intrigiung, exciting, real and honest. for me, I find the neighborhood play, street play very important but not really my most important desire for my kids. I say this eventhough we have 55 kids under 12 who live on our cul-de-sac on 7th ave in SF. It is ideal for kids. But, even with 55 kids made up from only 35 homes, the scene is a bit contrived. Sure, kids are playing and it is a fantastic street. But, let’s face it. It is the street, not nature, and the play is somehwat scheduled because we all live near eachother and it is easy for parents, conveinent let’s say. Also, it is on cement, not in trees or grass or open fields. On this street, our kids play because it is easy to do so, which is great, but more importantly, play with other kids outdoors in nature is way more important to me than street/neighborhood play. Sure, kids play while we make dinner (unsupervised). this is what makes it great on our great street ( that we parents don;t have to supervise all the time while kids are playing on street). However, it is the lazy way out for our city kids. What is way more important to me is what I read from most parents on this site, to play outdoors, free play, near trees, water, creeks, etc., jjust like the days growing up ion New York. Well, this is what I have created for my kids right here in SF and I do it every day for my 3 kids (4, 7 and 8.5 year old boy and two girls). It has been a life changing experience for me, for my wife, for my kids. Our parent life is free from playdate hell, our kids are meeting some great kids and parents from all over and we did it by just going to Golden Gate park every day. This is real nature, real natural, real fun and it is easy. Come check us out to see. I’d love to talk more about the subject. Please note that I’ve just learned of this site tonight, just visited, and spent only 15 minutes on the site before I came to the survey and then posted this comment. So, sorry for vagueness, rambled sentences, and so on. I would love to meet you in GG park sometime with the kids. Just like the summer of love, I envision 100’s of kids in GG park every day during the school year, as opposed to the 10-25 I get in GG park every day. We are almost alone really and it amazes me that our city kids are not enjoying one of SF’s most beautiful locations. GG park versus their homes (or in mostly indoor after school programs the city has to offer) is what amazes me. We are losing touch with nature and to change that, all we have to do for our city kids is to drive 15 minutes max to GG park, 2-3 days a week (or one day a week) and enjoy the adventure, not to metion just great outdoor grass excercise. I say we parents need to make a choice and prioritize getting kids outdoors, as opposed to making it easier for parents to give kids an enriched life through neighborhood play. A combination of the two is what is ideal to me but no way does neighborhood play come close to my 3 kdis sitting in trees socializing with firends for 3 hours. Or, for my son to play soccer and teach a kids 3 years younger how he makes a driblle move. Sure, the neighborhood play is great but the real important thing is outdoor, real nature play, unstructured, real, fun, etc…
    In all, I can’t stand play dates, or preparation to schedule playdates, nor can I stand watching kids play on cement in a cordoned off area to make their fun. they need freedom, grass, trees, water, lakes, streams, etc… all is at and in GG park.

  7. Mike Lanza says:

    I love what you’re doing in SF!!! It seems like your kids have a great life, and you’re doing great things for other kids, too. I would definitely like to visit sometime. I wish we still lived there so we could join you, but we moved to Palo Alto from SF two years ago to find kid heaven in the ‘burbs. We’re still looking…

    Re your comments on play in nature versus play in neighborhoods, I have a couple of comments. First, kids in suburbs and rural areas often have woods right by their house, so these aren’t necessarily contradictory. I know I did when I was a kid. Second, if the play’s not by the kid’s house (i.e. in or close to his or her neighborhood), then usually a parent needs to plan the play and provide transportation. This often taints the experience for the kid because it has to be scheduled, and ultimately, the parent usually ends up monitoring the experience and controlling it somewhat.

    Your organization may be eliciting different behavior from parents – I certainly hope so…