Playing in the neighborhood, unsupervised?
As I type, the kids are outside, playing. I am working on the kitchen counter, and I have no visual on the kids. But, I can hear them shooting and calling to each other. So, even if I don't have a visual on them, I feel ok about them playing out front, where I can still hear them.
Then, one runs in and says, "Mama, can we ride our bikes around the block?" I say, "OK, just stay on the sidewalk, watch for the [one] driveway, and always stay together. Go once around and come check in." With my older kids now approaching 10 and 7, I think they are more than old enough to start exploring on their own. When I was their age, I'd be out playing in the neighborhood all afternoon with no check-ins with my parents.
At a friend's house earlier in the summer, our kids were invited by the other kid (age 10) to go two blocks to the neighborhood park. His dad gave him a timer, set it for 15 minutes, and asked him to come back when the timer went off. I thought that was a novel idea. I just might use that trick.
Do you have older children, starting to experiment with walking to the neighbor's house a block away, going to the park with a friend or sibling, riding bikes around the block? What sort of parameters do you lay out for them? How old were the kids when you started to let them venture out on their own?