This appeared in the New York Times today. Play is so integral to child development.  I love the idea of “offbeat playgrounds”  to offer children all types of play experiences.  I might have to go to Governor’s Island to see the children playing where the rule is “no parents allowed.” Have fun this summer and don’t worry if you only have access to a traditional playground.   Put some children in a traditional playground, step back and watch what happens….. I am sure they will invent their own offbeat activities.

From the NY Times:

If you hear a bit of joyful shrieking this afternoon, don’t be alarmed.  School lets out for summer today — at least, for more than a million public school students in the city (and animals, too).  Parents looking for things for their children to do in the hot summer months should consider our city’s nearly 1,000 playgrounds.

Here are a few offbeat places to play:

Children can grasp the laws of physics firsthand with wind pipes, fog machines and a gigantic seesaw at the Science Playground at the New York Hall of Science in Queens.

Or scale the large spider web at the newly opened Dome Playground in Borough Park, Brooklyn.

Cool off with fountains, water gushers and buckets at the Chelsea Waterside and Pier 51 playgrounds.

For creative play with large building blocks, take your youngsters to theImagination Playground at the South Street Seaport.

Or for a more rugged free-play experience, try Play:ground on Governors Island.

Tools, loose wood, blocks and tires are available for children to use as they please.

(Sorry, no parents allowed in this part of the playground.)

Instead, the park is staffed with “playworkers” who “encourage risk taking and assess hazards,” said Jackie Katz, one of the park’s founders.

Since opening in May, one child got a splinter working with wood, and another hit his finger with a hammer. “But he was totally O.K.,” Ms. Katz said.

“It’s summertime,” she added. “Kids should be free to let their guard down and play outside until the streetlights come on or your big brother takes you home.”

Read more about the importance of play and spending time outdoors.

Photo from the galleries at