The Playful Learning Landscapes Model

What if…

We could transform cities into playful learning centers alive with fun opportunities for children that prepare them for success in a global world?


What if, on any given neighborhood block, we could find kids playing together while building skills in math, science, language, and reading? What if we could use the 80% of time children spend outside the classroom to make a difference?

We can!

Playful learning could help all children reach their potential while building stronger cities— Welcome to a playful learning city!


Playful Learning Landscapes Action Network infuses the best science of learning into initiatives to build strong cities, offering exciting opportunities to help all children reach their potential. In cities around the world, everyday public places are being transformed – bus stops, libraries, parks – into hubs of playful learning. Working with communities, we can build on their strengths to co-create playful learning opportunities where they are needed most.

The 5 principles of how kids learn…

5 Principles of Learning


Children must be “minds on” – acting, not passively observing. Distraction is the enemy. Thinking, reasoning, and creating knowledge generates learning. Kids have to do something, not just sit there! 


Children learn best when learning has purpose. Connect playful learning to their lives and the things they value. Ask: Is this activity intuitive? Is it relevant to families in my community?


Working together drives learning. Children learn more when they cooperate, discuss, and mingle with others than when they fly solo. When families do things together, children thrive.


When a single activity allows children to choose their own adventure, they can have a new and different interaction each time they engage. Create experiences that are open-ended. Ask: What would make a child play again?


Joy heightens children’s interest and motivation for learning. People find games challenging and relaxing, creating a positive state called “flow.” Playful learning activities should offer something new every time kids play!

6 Learning Goals

Community Engagement

Enriching public and private spaces with Playful Learning opportunities works best when the community guides or leads a project. A crucial factor for all PLLAN initiatives, community engagement creates a more equitable and socially sustainable outcome.

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