How did you play as a child? Whether you were socialising with other children, realising how much fun hopscotch was, or swinging as high as you could, we all know that play was a joyful and fundamental part of our childhood. Yet, Marie Williams, founder of Dream Networks, declares we’re in a ‘Play Emergency’ and shares how so many children across the world are being deprived of play and spaces to play in – with children from disadvantaged and marginalised backgrounds being affected more harshly. This lack of play is having catastrophic effects on children’s development and more widely on us as a society.

Marie advocates for play equity and suggests that it’s the responsibility of adults to end the play emergency we are facing. Marie proposes making play possible for all by adopting a child-centered approach, that focuses on inclusive spaces, play materials, and local connections. By deconstructing the idea of a “playground” and allowing children to take the lead in designing play spaces, Marie shows through her work at Dream Networks and research, that constructing fun and inclusive play spaces is possible. And suggests how we can all show up to make play possible for all. Marie Williams is a playful engineer on a global mission to enable play4all children. A social entrepreneur, lecturer and finalist of the Institute of Engineering’s Female Engineer of the Year award, she wants to ensure all children have a place to play. And most importantly, that children are able to contribute to the design the play spaces they inhabit. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Marie Willliams

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