What are play streets?

Play Streets are all about providing a safe environment for children and parents to be active in their neighbourhood through play and engaging socially with their neighbours. They are small, resident-led, local events, held on quiet neighbourhood streets during daylight hours. Temporary vehicle restrictions make it easier for residents to organise their own play street events compared with larger scale events.

Play Streets have become really popular in Australia, the United States and United Kingdom. Sport NZ and Waka Kotahi have been working closely together, alongside councils, Regional Sports Trusts and other partner organisations, to make it easier for Play Streets to happen in Aotearoa.

Play Street Guidelines

Waka Kotahi has produced Play Street Guidelines to help councils plan Play Street events with local residents by providing guidance around traffic management and safety.

What does a play street look like?

Five reasons to support street Play Streets in Aotearoa 

We know that play is important for development in children and Play Streets are just one of many ways to promote play across Aotearoa.  

Play Streets provide a range of benefits to those taking part, whether you’re a parent or caregiver, neighbour or child. The positives go much further than fitness and fresh air.  

1. Play Streets evoke our creative side – getting us to reimagine how we use our streets during these events and how we can realise more play opportunities in our natural environment and everyday lives. 

2. The right to play – It’s every child’s right to play and enjoy the outdoors, which helps with their development. Street play gives children a space to be independent and explore their own ideas without direction from adults.   

3. An opportunity to connect with our community – Street play provides a perfect opportunity to get to know our neighbours, build trust and have a sense of connection through whakawhanaungatanga. 

4. An active New Zealand – Play Streets create a safe environment for children to play, make friends, learn new skills and explore. It’s not often we can turn a suburban street into a free-play area for a day that provides a great opportunity for kids to connect with their local areas. 

5. Supporting wellbeing – Play Streets are all about connection, getting moving, enjoying the environment and having fun – all elements that have a huge impact on our physical, social and mental wellbeing for both children and adults.    

How you can get involved

More than 20 Play Streets have been held in New Zealand over the past 18 months, connecting 23 neighbourhoods, over 1000 kids and almost 500 adults to enjoy their local areas, be active and have fun.

If you’re thinking about getting your neighbourhood involved in making a Play Street happen, start by talking to your local council.

Check Waka Kotahi's Play Street Guidelines

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