Piles of wood, cardboard, buckets of paint and spare tires are just a few of the junk supplies meant to inspire creativity at the Sacramento Adventure Playground.
Since it opened two summers ago, the playspace in South Sacramento has been a constant construction project, where the kids are the builders. It reopened its doors earlier this month after a winter break.
On a recent Friday, about a dozen children were painting, drilling and hammering away at a collection of ramshackle playhouses. A few others were simply running around.
“This is a mess,” said Steve Caudle, the play manager. “It’s a junkyard where kids can be kids the old-fashioned way.”Sammy Caiola / Capital Public Radio
The free playground is a project of Fairytale Town — the nonprofit behind the massive storybook-themed campus in Land Park. The new project is in a neighborhood with few safe outdoor spaces. It’s located next to La Familia Counseling Center and a few other community resources.
Gloria Leyva says her two children, Moses and Aurelia, don’t have many other ways to exercise and make friends.
“You know apartments are not really for kids to play outside in,” she said. “So it’s nice for them to come here, and it’s almost down the street. My kids love being outside, so this is kind of perfect for them.”
There are only a handful of adventure playgrounds in the U.S., including one in Berkeley. The idea started in Europe, where children played in rubble after the war. Supporters say they teach children teamwork, leadership skills and confidence in an age where they’re often absorbed in their phones or too closely watched by their parents.
“Imagination, creativity, socialization — you get it all here,” Caudle said.
The playground is open to kids age 7 to 15. Find hours and more information at sacadventureplay.org.