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Play Streets

What are Play Streets?

Play Streets temporarily restrict vehicle traffic on quiet local streets, so that children and parents can be active, socially connect, and PLAY in their neighbourhood. Picture cones or some sort of moveable safety barrier, balls and chalk and people out the front of their houses chatting and enjoying each others company.

Vehicle movement is temporarily restricted on small and quiet residential streets during daylight hours, a cul-de-sac is an ideal location. The events are designed and planned by the residents with the support of council, and are intended to be low-cost and low-stress so everyone can have fun.

Why is play important?

Play is vital for our health and happiness - we want to get our kids out exploring and being active.

Play is essential for our cognitive, physical, social and emotional development. It builds fundamental physical literacy, fosters creativity and innovation and builds our ability to identify and manage risk.

Play contributes to not only children’s lives but also the well-being of whānau and wider community.

We believe that everyone has a role in growing the amount of play that our communities enjoy.

Play is where tamariki practice life.

Who is usually involved in a Play Street?

Anyone can organise a Play Streets event. They are often organised by a group of neighbours, a school, or a community group, e.g. Scouts. Whoever is leading the Play Street event will need to get permission from the council.

The Waka Tākaro Play Trailer can also be booked for your Play Street Activation.

What are the key characteristics of a Play Street?

Below are the typical characteristics of a Play Street based on experiences from New Zealand and internationally:

  • Usually organised by neighbours on their own street – and often with support from council or regional sports trust staff.
  • Simple and low key with a focus on play, physical activity, and community connectivity (as opposed to partying).
  • Play streets allow children (and adults) to play freely, without organised games or activities. In practice, this means kids cycle, scoot, skate, chalk, skip, hopscotch, kick a ball around and make up games.
  • Parents and caregivers are responsible for their children.
  • Held during daylight hours.
  • Traffic is temporarily restricted from the event area for a defined period – usually 2-3 hours.
  • The Play Street might regularly recur, e.g. first Sunday afternoon of each month.
  • The event area is not too large.
  • All neighbours in the immediate area are consulted and included.
  • The Play Street is only ‘advertised’ in the immediate neighbourhood. This means it is not open for the wider public attend. That keeps crowd size and down and will avoid outside traffic coming to the area.
  • The traffic restriction is set up and stewarded by residents and volunteers (event marshals).
  • Residents’ vehicles may enter or leave the street at walking speed and under Play Street marshal supervision.
  • Usually there are no commercial activities at the event (e.g. food trucks or bouncy castles).

Health and safety

Your Play Street should be fun, therefore it is important to think about how to keep everyone safe while playing on the street.

Your health and safety plan should be developed and discussed with your organising team and form part of the briefing for the event marshals. Reach out to our Community Development team to find out more information.

Play champions

Have you got a play idea for your community? We can help you make it happen! We will work with you to discuss, develop and resource play projects and interventions.
Keen to host your own Play Street? Get in touch to grow play in your neighbourhood today 06 857 80 60 




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