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Image by Seema Krishnakumar/cc/flickr

CHILD & YOUTH FRIENDLY Play in Built Environments

These indicators have been compiled with a grading system to help you and your community think through aspects of child and youth friendliness in each domain. 


A grading system allows you to recognize that (for most of these indicators) there are many steps between 'not at all child and youth friendly' and 'extremely child and youth friendly'. Your community may fall somewhere in the middle on many of the indicators. 


For each indicator, try to grade your community out of 10.

1 being "Not at all child and youth friendly",

5 being "some positive aspects but some changes could be made" and

10 being "We are a leader in child and youth friendly practices".


This is designed to be printed and done communally. 




a wide range of environments encourage various types of children’s play, including social and physical play


open-paved spaces are available and appropriate for play (e.g., street hockey, skateboarding, learning how to ride a bike)


there are places where children and youth can play informal sports and games (e.g., tag) safely and without complaints


natural areas (e.g., gardens, fields, forests, parks) are available and accessible

community gardens are available where children and youth can plant, care for, and pick their own flowers and vegetables


playgrounds with play elements are suitable for various ages


local policies ensure children, youth, and parent involvement in park design


play features allow children to take healthy risks in play (i.e. are physically challenging, yet the consequences of getting injured are not serious)


play elements provide room for imagination (e.g., there are multiple ways of using the equipment)


play elements can be creatively manipulated


play elements incorporate nature (e.g., trees, sand, water)


water features are available and suitable for play (e.g., wading pools, fountains, natural and constructed streams, ponds, etc.)


play elements encourage adults to interact with children and youth


there are places for adults to sit and observe their children and youth at play


shady areas provide protection from the sun


play areas are built with line of sight in mind (adults can see the entire area from various vantage points)


street party permits are available that allow families to close the street off from traffic to encourage neighbourhood play

traffic awareness training is offered for children


play areas are built with appropriate protection from the external environment (e.g., traffic, animals)


well-maintained play areas are regularly checked for safety and sanitation (e.g., equipment failure, animal excrement, needles)


multi-unit dwellings provide play spaces in common areas and are easily overlooked by the individual units


spaces are provided where children and youth can engage in noisy and energetic play


safe public places are available for children, youth and adults of all ages to gather socially


safe routes to the places that young people regularly go (such as schools and parks) are well marked and well-lit


there is a presence of strategies that address criminal activities that target children (e.g., sexual exploitation through the sex trade, involvement in drugs and drug trafficking)


patterns of development keep heavy traffic away from areas frequented by children and youth (e.g., schools, play areas)


lowered curbs or ramps are present at every corner and crossing

structures and laws slow traffic near areas frequented by children and youth
signage protects children and youth from traffic (e.g., slow down kids at play)


children and youth are involved in the planning and design process of developing neighbourhood spaces




1- UNFRIENDLY             5- OK                     10-A LEADER




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