HOME à History of Adventure Play Early Pioneers Archives Articles & Papers Further Reading Links Contact About this Site  



A life as prolific as Carl Theodor Sørensen’s (1893-1979) is at best difficult to summarise. With regard to the history of junk playgrounds, his ideas became prominent in the late 1930’s when working on a proposal for the transformation of the Cottage Park in Klampenborg, north of Copenhagen into a family and children’s park.

The transformative proposal was created in collaboration with Carl Theodor Sørensen (Landscape Architect) and Hans Dragehjelm (School Teacher). The proposal featured numerous natural child play areas – it is here that you can see Sørensen’s interest and commitment to providing children opportunities for natural play. The proposal was titled “The Children’s Paradise” and was linked to Sørensen’s other works in the early 1930’s.

Unfortunately Sørensen and Dragehjelm’s “Children’s Paradise” was never realized and the local children’s play needs ignored. Instead the tennis club was expanded and the English style gardens kept.

In a journal article in 1935 Sørensen wrote:

"Finally we should probably at some point experiment with what one could call a junk playground. I am thinking in terms of an area, not too small in size, well closed off from its surroundings by thick greenery, where we should gather, for the amusement of bigger children, all sorts of old scrap that the children from the apartment blocks could be allowed to work with, as the children in the countryside and in the suburbs already have. There could be branches and waste from tree polling and bushes, old cardboard boxes, planks and boards, "dead" cars, old tyres and lots of other things, which would be a joy for healthy boys to use for something. Of course it would look terrible, and of course some kind of order would have to be maintained; but I believe that things would not need to go radically wrong with that sort of situation. If there were really a lot of space, one is tempted to imagine tiny little kindergartens, keeping hens and the like, but it would at all events require an interested adult supervisor..."

Later on his life, Sørensen wrote about junk playgrounds:

"They can dream and imagine and make dreams and imagination reality, any rate a reality, which the child's mind is completely satisfied with…It is so obvious that the children thrive here and feel well, they unfold and they live. Of all the things, I have contributed to realize, the junk playgrounds the ugliest, for me, however, it is the most beautiful and best of my works."

More to continue...