Our street is a no through road, and there's a park directly across the main road it joins onto. A group of neighbour kids from our street walk past our house pretty much every afternoon to go play at the park. They range in age from probably early teens to toddlers, and they all go together (about 10 of them! I'm pretty sure they're from a few different families). There's never an adult with them. I think it's nice that they have that bit of independence and they're able to all go to the park together. All of the neighbours expect to see them, and if you're outside when they're walking past they always say hello. We've only lived here for about two months and we are already familiar with them, so I guess if anything went wrong they could run and knock on the nearest door and the occupant would know them and help.
I think for me, it would depend a lot on the area/neighbourhood and how far away the park was.
I used to live in Sydney and wouldn't let my kids go in the backyard without my uninterrupted supervision. Just two very different worlds.
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