Play Everywhere Is Turning Sidewalks and Streets Into Playgrounds

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Long before the coronavirus shut down parks and playgrounds, kids were hijacking streets and sidewalks and appropriating vacant lots to create their own play areas. They jumped rope, chalked hopscotch on sidewalks and turned any space large enough to build a cardboard fort into an impromptu battlefield. The nation even sung a paean to playing… Read more »

Games to Play With Others and Still Stay Safe

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50 years ago, a ping pong tournament connected China to the world. Today, the table top tennis game is doing the same for families and neighbors. Social distancing may have put a halt to team sports, but games like ping pong, badminton, corn hole toss and tennis are allowing Americans to connect with others while… Read more »

A Case for Elder Playgrounds

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Note: This is the second of three articles about play and playgrounds for seniors. Links to the series are at the end of this article ∼∼∼∼∼ Our smile-less masked world is a sort of backdrop begging to be painted over with happy scenes. With trepidation we’ve burst forth from our collective Covid-chrysalis to not go… Read more »

A Vision for Elder Playgrounds

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Note: This is the first of three articles about play and playgrounds for seniors. Links to the series are at the end of this article. ∼∼∼∼∼ Our static moment of quarantine has been surprisingly elastic. Just as we acclimate and refine the art of stay-at-home lifestyle, society flirts with re-opening. Moving from isolation toward re-emergence… Read more »

What You Should Know About Playgrounds and COVID-19

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Note: Post updated July 6, 2020 As the nation begins to reopen, parents are understandably concerned about the risks to their children of contracting COVID-19 in parks and playgrounds. It’s a reasonable fear. We know that the coronavirus spreads when people cough, sneeze or just talk. Does this mean children should stay away from playgrounds?… Read more »

Water Play That Lets Kids Be Engineers

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There is a new thinking in water play design that has as much in common with the ubiquitous splash park as a neighborhood playground has with an adventure destination. We noted this trend several months ago in discussing the first season of the water play area at Knudsen Park in Holladay, Utah. The community there… Read more »

Magical Bridge Is Changing What a Playground Should Be

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Magical Bridge kids at play

It was after the birth of her second daughter, developmentally disabled Ava, that Olenka Villarreal discovered how isolating a playground could be. The 34 playgrounds in Palo Alto, California where she lived were all ADA-complaint, but to Villarreal accessibility was not the same as usability. Her quest for a place where Ava and children of… Read more »

Risky Play and the Study That Fueled a Movement

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“I hate taking my kids to the playground.” That’s not something you expect to hear from a person who researches and designs playgrounds for a living. Yet there was Meghan Talarowski on a TEDx stage, flashing a picture of one of those cheerfully colored, boxed-in, plasticized kiddie slides as she declared, “My kids get bored… Read more »

Find a Hippo, Create a Yarn Monster and Other Creative Ideas For Kids and Parents

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With schools closed, parks and playgrounds off limits and group activities banned, parents everywhere are struggling to find new and creative ways to keep their children active. They’re turning to Facebook groups with names like Activities for Children During Isolation, Virtual Activities for Children and Youth and Best Ideas for Kids. Google tells us that… Read more »

Designer Spotlight: Teri Hendy on the Safety Standards that Transformed U.S. Playgrounds

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Peruse the entry for Teri Hendy in the Play and Playground Encyclopedia and try not to be impressed. The Cincinnati-based design and safety consultant has advised the playground industry for almost 30 years and chaired or assisted ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) International subcommittees behind some of the core standards for residential and… Read more »