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Boston Children’s Museum
308 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 426-6500

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Wednesday - Sunday
2 time slots,
9:00am - 12:00pm and 1:30pm - 4:30pm

The Land

A Film and Discussion about Adventure Play and Risk

As part of our summer Power of Play series, the Museum will feature three screenings of the award–winning short film “The Land” created by Vermont filmmaker Erin Davis. The Land (2015), is a documentary film that shares its name with a playground in Wales, U.K. and explores the nature of play, risk and the possibilities of unstructured play. At The Land, with guidance from trained playworkers, children climb trees, light fires, and use hammers and nails in a play-space rooted in the belief that kids are empowered when they learn to manage risks on their own.

Created by Wales resident Claire Griffiths, with funding from the Welsh government, The Land could be misconstrued as a junk yard, with old tires, pallets, furniture, ladders, crates, and ropes in abundance. As Griffiths told the U.K paper The Guardian, "I didn't have a ‘vision’ of it because that takes it away from the kids, but I wanted it to be in a constant state of change using stuff that's scrounged or donated and of no monetary value. Kids are attracted to the novel and new. In the past, they could disappear all day in search of it. They could find adventure, test their limits. We don't let kids do that anymore. I wanted to compensate for the lack of wild play and 'adult-free' experiences. I wanted something kids could make up and break up and rediscover every visit."

Cora Carey, School Age Learning Manager for Boston Children’s Museum said, “The film inspires parents to reconnect with the kind of play many of us remember from our youth: building forts from discarded boxes, exploring vacant lots with neighborhood kids, or climbing trees in backyards, and to consider how limited such play has become for children today.”

“With opportunities for play declining rapidly for children across the U.S., the Museum is deeply involved in the critical discussion about how play has changed, what has been lost, and how we can all support children’s play in everyday life” said Anna Housley Juster, Ph.D., Senior Director of Child Development at the Museum. “The film is a catalyst for a robust community conversation guided by experts in the fields of child development, museum education, and play. We will discuss the important distinction between risk and hazard in children’s play and how elements of what we see in the film can inform how parents, teachers, and museums can best support play for kids right here in Boston.”

View the trailer

The Atlantic - Interview with Filmmaker Erin Davis

The Atlantic – The Over protected Kid

Screenings (at Boston Children’s Museum KidStage Theater)

June 11, 2016 2:00pm - 4:00pm RSVP
Anna Housley Juster, Ph.D., Senior Director, Child Development Boston Children’s Museum
Erin Davis, Filmmaker
Carole Charnow, President and CEO, Boston Children’s Museum
Michael W. Yogman , M.D., Chairman Boston Children’s Museum
Janice O'Donnell, former executive director of Providence Children's Museum and founder of PlayCorps

July 28, 2016, 6:00pm - 8:00pm RSVP
Moderator: Anna Housley Juster, Ph.D., Sr. Director for Child Development, Boston Children’s Museum
Erin Davis, The Land Filmmaker
Kerri Schmidt, Deputy Director, ReadBoston, Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development
Peter Gray, Ph.D., Research Professor, Dept. of Psychology, Boston College and author of Free to Learn
Chenine Peloquin, MA, CTRS, Department of Child Study and Human Development, Tufts University
Cora Carey, School Age Learning Manager, Boston Children’s Museum
Bill Shribman, Senior Executive Producer, Digital Content, WGBH

August 20, 2016 2:00pm - 4:00pm RSVP
Moderator: Cora Carey, School Age Learning Manager, Boston Children’s Museum
Erin Davis, The Land Filmmaker
Josette Williams, Countdown to Kindergarten Program Manager, Boston Public Schools
Peter Gray, Ph.D., Research Professor, Dept. of Psychology, Boston College and author of Free to Learn
Bob Paret, Parent Ambassador, Boston Children’s Museum

Please Note: This event is for adults. Children can play in the Museum with a second adult during the day screenings, but adults can only be admitted to the Museum for the evening screening as the Museum will be closed to the public. Admission to the film and panel discussion is free.

For additional information or questions, please contact Christina Williams at (617) 986-3663 or

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