P

L

A

Y


How To Design Places/Spaces
For Children Of All Ages


A.
A Public Design Session Is Held - and all the participants by consensus define what is meant by Play. Then this definition is written down on paper — and of course that means the children and parents are totally involved in the design process from beginning to end and in fact make the final decision.

B.
Then a list is made of all of the expected Outcomes that relate to everyone's definition of 'Play'. (for example, see the list to the right).

C.
And then all of the folks analyze how the pieces of steel, plastic, and wood (equipment) could produce the Outcomes you all expect. Then you all have to ask yourself - 'are there better ways to achieve the Outcomes you want to achieve by not using rigid non-movable, and potentially dangerous steel, plastic and wood pieces?'

D.
Sometimes a company approaches a community and convinces the community to do an extensive 'Playground'. Here are some questions community members have to ask themselves:

1) Are these companies experts in children and children's play? Or are they primarily a 'fundraising' company? And what percentage of the funds collected from the community does the fund raising business take? Is it 80% of the funds collected from the community?

2) Often the fundraising company brings in their 'designers' to sit down with the children to 'design' the 'playground'. Do these 'designers' - design the 'playground' to include all of the children's suggestions? Or instead do the 'designers' include only a few of the children's ideas? And the design ends up looking like every other 'playground' that this company has 'designed'?

Harry Pasternak: 'I have never seen any of those pieces of steel, plastic, and wood fulfill any Outcomes list I have ever seen. ... But if instead a 'trained' playleader/facilitator (not playground leader) is brought in to the environment - that's a different story . . . Again its a different story if the neighorhoods have all of the elements built into it - to encourage play/socializing/learning and none of the negative barriers to discourage play/socializing/learning - then playleaders would be not be needed and then we all could stop pretending that playground equipment
has anything to do with the nurturing of our children.

.

What Is Play For - When You Are Thinking Of Building A 'Playground' Either On A Big Piece Of Land Or A Little Piece Of Land?

Is it for :

Developing Creativity?
How creative can anyone be with fixed, immovable steel, plastics, and wood objects and dry as-a-bone sand? Zero.

Developing Muscular Systems?
For that to happen - there has to be different levels of difficulty for kids of different heights, different strengths, and different levels of self-esteem. That means - 12 sets of monkey bars set at 12 different heights off the ground - is there resilient foam underneath to break a kid's fall (do you love or hate children)?

Develop Movement Abilities?
For that to happen - there has to be different levels of difficulty for different heights, different strengths, and different levels of self-esteem. That means 12 slides - each with a different length ladder with different heights of steps. Is there resilient foam underneath to break a kids fall (do you love or hate children)?

To Socialize?
What do pieces of steel, plastic and wood sticking out of the ground have to do with socializing?

To Learn?
What are kids going to learn from fixed, imovable hard pieces of steel, plastic and wood ?

Develop Self- Esteem?
Self-esteem can't be developed unless there are 12 sets of swings - each at a different height of the ground. Is there resilient foam underneath to break a kids fall (do you love or hate children)?

Run Off 'Steam'?
Why not just run to 'run off steam'?

Safe Place To Be - Away From Car Traffic?
500,000 children injured on playgrounds ever year in North America - 3/4 in falls off equipment. There are supposed to be even more than 500,000 injured in car traffic going to and from 'playgrounds'. And then there is the toxic longterm impact from carcinogenic and mutagenic wood preservatives used on wood components. And the 160 degree tempature of equipment. And lack of shade over equipment. And .....

Back To Beginning
Thousand Islands Institute - The Independent Centre For Housing Research & Education