Infinite Playgrounds

Our family recently returned from a month in Australia.

We visited in July, which is winter in Australia and that meant very empty beaches.

Perfect for our two kids to run riot.

Over the course of our visit, we went to the beach almost every single day.

While Lisa (my wife) and I sat and read, the kids just entertained themselves in the sand and the waves.

Here's the crazy part:

They never got bored.

As I said before, we went to the beach a lot.

Yet, every time, they were just as excited.

This led me to wonder what exactly about the beach kept them infinitely entertained.

Let's imagine the beach as an infinite playground.

What are the characteristics of an infinite playground?

Actually, I'd like to ask a more specific question.

What single characteristic makes a playground infinite?


I couldn't think of just one.

But I did manage to think of a combination:

Variability (that's out of your control) and manipulability (that's within your control).

In our case on the beach, the waves brought variability (can't control them) and the sand brought manipulability (can attempt to build castles).

Based on this combination of characteristics, here are a few more infinite playgrounds:

Shopping at the farmers market (can't control the quality of the produce), then cooking at home (can attempt to make a stir fry with what you get).

Going to an instructor-led exercise class (can't control the sequencing of the moves, can control how you execute them - or not).

Having a great conversation (can't control what they say, can control what you say).

Going for a walk outside (can't control what you come across, can control where you go and how long for).

Social media (can't control what you come across, maybe can control how long you browse for).

What I want to leave you with is another very important characteristic of an infinite playground.


It has a very low barrier to entry.

In other words:


It's often free to play in.

dark blue background with a light blue wave