Getting Past The Grown-Ups

Getting Past The Grown-Ups



In Adam Bienenstock’s opinion, we’ve all kind of “lost it.” (“It” being free-range access to natural spaces and unstructured play.) So-called grown-ups keep getting in the way of the best experiences nature has to offer our kids. Adam takes audiences on an irreverent journey through his decades of work building programs, parks, and playgrounds that connect children, adults and communities to nature. Combining cutting edge research with humorous anecdotes, this keynote explores why and how to infuse world class nature-based play into our children’s lives.




Adam Bienenstock

Founder & Principal Designer


Learning Outcomes

Bienenstock’s Guiding Principles

Over the past three decades, Bienenstock has developed a set of ten principles that are reflected in every one of our natural park and playground projects:

In our parks and playgrounds:

  1. You will hear laughter.
  2. Play is unstructured, self-directed, and creative, not prescriptive.
  3. Play is built on a backbone of real, raw, nature.
  4. Bugs, birds, dirt, hills, rocks, water, and trees are the good stuff.
  5. Bumps, bruises and scrapes are celebrated.
  6. There are four seasons, we play in all of them.
  7. We must all be compelled to move.
  8. We will engage all of our senses.
  9. We must create obstacles, increase risk, and decrease hazards.
  10. Size matters; we all deserve to feel small next to an ancient tree or huge next to a challenge.