Everyone has their own definition of “fun.” We could go out for a late-night drink with our friends, go shopping, or simply stay home and watch movies on the sofa with a bowl of popcorn. But the Nordics can teach us a lot about what it means to have fun in a dirty way.

The idea of a playground with specifically designed equipment originated in Germany in the 1850s, and the first playgrounds were built in Manchester, United Kingdom, and later Boston, Massachusetts. However, Scandavania’s philosophy of free play has resulted in more inspiring surroundings. It all started when Danish architect Carl Theodor Sørensen proposed the concept of skrammellegepladser or “junk playgrounds”. His goal was to give urban and rural children equal opportunities to play after witnessing kids turn construction sites into play areas in the 1930s. Sørensen’s influence then reached Glasgow via Assemble Studio over the next four decades. The Turner Prize-winning team’s mud-themed Baltic Street Adventure Playground debuted in 2013. Play cities like Copenhagen, Denmark are no longer limited to specific neighborhoods or children. Basketball courts in the streets and slides built into hillsides have been associated with the concept of play in an urban environment.

Playing is all about freedom. So let’s get our clothes stained with mud, dirt, sweat, and joy the next time we go out to enjoy our leisure time!