Creative Designs and Uses that Go Beyond the Traditional Playground Swing
When it comes to playground equipment, the swing holds a special place. Swings are often among the most popular features of any playscape. They give everyone an opportunity to soar through the air while always encouraging us to reach ever-higher. The rhythmic back-and-forth of traditional swings can also gently lull us into a relaxed state and provide that perfect ending to a great day. Here are a few innovative approaches, along with a handful of wonderful locations, to gain that one-of-a-kind perspective that only a swing can provide.
A Swing to Carry You into a Different State of Mind
Swings can be a bit of contradiction. They are stationary in nature, yet often meant to take you to a different place. The swings of the Rotary Riverwalk Playscape in Des Moines, IA are designed to invoke a leisurely day spent fishing by the river. This innovative playscape created by RDG Planning & Design features a series of swings hanging from the arch of the curved “fishing pole.” The recently opened playground along a revamped riverwalk invites those going for a relaxing stroll to sit awhile and enjoy the river view while gently swaying in the breeze. The installation represents a great example of how a swing set can be effortlessly integrated into an innovative design while allowing for plenty of fun by both children and adults.
Accessible Soaring with the Seagull Swing
Located in several accessible playgrounds throughout the nation, this deceivingly simple swing set hides an impressive design approach. The swings are specifically created to be inclusive of children with different ability levels. In the picture above, the swing on the left operates just like your typical swing, with one important difference. The mechanical energy produced by the swinging action is transferred to the swing on the right, generating movement. This means that those who lack the physical ability to swing can still enjoy the experience without the need of someone standing behind and pushing. If you did not know of the design or how it worked, you might not even notice that one person was producing movement in two swings. This approach makes it much easier to seamlessly integrate children of different abilities into the natural playground environment for the benefit of everyone.
A Colorful Invitation to Enjoy a Good Swing
The playground installation on Boston’s Lawn on D includes 20 illuminated ring-shaped swings designed by Sasaki Associates. Not only do they invite users of all ages to relax throughout the day, they are also used as premier seating for performances at night. These non-traditional swings have proven to be immensely popular. They regularly entice people from throughout the broader area to come into downtown Boston just to swing. The LED lighting inside each swing is not random either. The lighting is controlled by a custom micro-controller and indicates the swing’s activity level. When the swings are in use, the light switches from a soft white to a bright purple, creating a changing pattern of dancing color. Day or night, Boston’s Lawn on D is a popular place to swing.
Encouraging a Group Approach with the Viking Swing
Swinging with your friends is much more fun than swinging alone. This has never been more true than with the fun and innovative Viking Swing. Instead of a traditional swing set with multiple individual swings, the Viking Swing is a single large rope swing with multiple connections. The design encourages children to work together and discover for themselves which way they want to swing. Nearly all playground equipment should be developed with an eye towards facilitating creative exploration. The Viking Swing has proven very popular and demonstrates the different activities that a swing can inspire.
A Rope Swing’s Feeling of Flight
Not ever swing is meant for the playground. Throughout America there are what are often referred to as “Swimmin’ Holes.” These are semi-secluded lakes and streams that provide a near-perfect summer swimming experience thanks to the area’s natural features. Many of these unofficial destinations boast rope swings that have often been created by visitors themselves. These swings offer visitors the ability to soar over the water before letting go and falling a short distance into a safe splash landing. For nearly fifty years, the people in and around Bolina, CA have hiked for an hour just to swim in Bass Lake and enjoy its iconic rope swing. It exists as a reminder of simpler times when fun and nature nearly always went together. Swings such as these often serve as inspiration to include the natural area into any playground’s design.
A Cozier Approach with a Basket Swing
As we have already demonstrated, swings can come in a multitude of different shapes and sizes. Located in playgrounds throughout the world, this basket swing is a great example of a swing that encourages creative usage. It is multi-use, easily incorporating the play of many children at once, and encourages participation from larger children who may not feel comfortable squeezing into a more traditional swing. Caregivers also often enjoy this swing with their youngest of charges. It is a great way to introduce young children to the joy of a swing. The best playground equipment inspires the imagination and encourages children to act. The basket swing’s straightforward design does just that.
Creating New Melodies on the Musical Swings of Montreal
Located near the Place des Arts metro station in the heart of Montreal, Canada’s entertainment district is an installation of twenty-one multi-colored musical swings. Envisioned by the award winning design group Daily Tous Les Jours, each swing is its own musical instrument playing prerecorded sounds from pianos and other instruments whenever a person sits and sets the swing into motion. As people swing together, the tempo of the swings adapt, forming different melodies and harmonies. The installation is meant to signify how each individual has their own unique sound which can then work with others to create something new and beautiful. They are also a lot of fun. Originally installed as a temporary exhibit, the swings can now be enjoyed by locals and visitors every Spring through Summer.
Exploration and Fun on the Multiple Swings of Bijlmerpark Amsterdam
Sled swings, traditional swings, long swings, and more, there are multiple types of swings to enjoy in the playscape of Bijlmerpark, Amsterdam. Designed by Carve, the sprawling park encourages children to explore the different ways they can swing by themselves and with large groups of their friends. No matter the type of swing that is chosen, the overall goals remains the same: reach higher, take a creative approach, try something different, and have fun while doing it. These swings offer an apt demonstration on how to encourage and facilitate creative exploration of the potential inherent in our wider world.
Calm Reflection on a Nature Inspired Bench Swing
Not every swing needs to be created to test our limits. This bench swing designed and built by Mitch Ryerson for Fulmore Park in Cambridge, MA is a great example of how to encourage a more contemplative swinging experience. It was created to blend comfortably into the surrounding natural area and is even tethered to the ground, which provides a pleasant rocking motion. There are many different types of swings, and every swing can serve many different purposes. This one is often used as a place where multiple generations can sit together and sway gently in the afternoon. Which makes it a wonderful swing indeed.
The Best Swing is the One Nearest to You
We hope this post has introduced you to the wonderful variety of shapes and purposes that make up the many swings available today. As a final thought, we would like to remind you that the simple joy of swinging is something that none of us should ever give up. Physically and mentally, a swing connects our past with our future by encouraging us to travel beyond the limits of what we currently imagine possible. There is a swing near you right now, we are sure of it. We encourage everyone to take a walk to their local playground and reintroduce themselves to the magic inherent in the fun of a swing.