Pathways For Play American Trails Winning Website
HomeAboutBenefitsResearchCase StudiesNewsMy PathResourcesPartnersContact UsDemonstration Sites
Infusing play into pathway networks
The purpose of Pathways for Play is to integrate play - critical for children's health - into walkable, bikeable, shared use community pathway networks infused with "play pockets" providing opportunities for playing along the way.

In the last 40 years, the number of children and adolescents in the United States walking or bicycling to or from school has dropped from approximately half to fewer than 15%. Innovative pathway designs infused with play is a paradigm change that could increase children's walking and biking habits by offering a network of intriguing linear play environments connecting children's homes to playgrounds and other meaningful, daily life destinations.

The term pathway covers all forms of network infrastructure, including greenways, trails and sidewalks that are used by pedestrians and cyclists to move around urban/suburban neighborhoods and mixed use developments. The term play pocket covers all forms of spaces and facilities identifiable by children and caregivers as play environments integral to playful pathways. Play pockets vary in size and may contain a mix of natural, living, and manufactured elements located on and linked by playful pathways.

The two primary advocacy and technical assistance organizations promoting pathways and trail developments are American Trails and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. NatureGrounds, the companion program to Pathways for Play, is already underway to naturalize thousands of playgrounds at parks and schools across America through intentional site design, using existing topography, and integrating plant material such as trees and flowering plants with manufacturer play equipment.
Program developed in partnership with:
PlayCore Natural Learning Initiative
© 2010 PlayCore, Inc. and Natural Learning Initiative,College of Design,
NC State University.
All rights reserved.
Pathways for Play is a trademark of PlayCore.
"Our work is about our families, our friends, our kids, our future. We’ve finally figured out that our communities are living systems and that they have unique and important properties that must interrelate so they can thrive. When natural systems and built systems are in sync, they can begin to heal the damage done to our land and our culture and begin to regenerate our neighborhoods and communities."

Rick Fedrizzi
President and CEO
Founding Chairman
U.S. Green Building Council
My Path - interactive activities for pathways play
Request the Book