In a world of computers and video games, it is easy to overlook the profound developmental impact unstructured, imaginative play can have on a young child. For children, playtime can be a venue for creating understandings of the world and how people interact. The immediate gratification of an Xbox 360 or an iPad will never nurture a child’s mind the way that a simple day playing outside can. As a place dedicated to the spirit of childhood, Smith exists to provide children with much needed play experiences.
Constructed in 1899, Smith’s operation today is just as important as it was during the Playground Movement of the late 1800s. From its inception, Smith has offered a free and beautiful place for children to play, away from the noise of the city and free from the constraints of the classroom. More than 100 years later, Smith’s program of physical and creative play remains innovative and invaluable. As a one-of-a-kind facility, Smith serves as a role model for other play spaces across the nation. Child-oriented agencies use the Playhouse as a staff and client training facility, while other organizations study and replicate Smith’s unique, safe, and accessible play equipment.