We play enthusiasts spend a lot of time discussing the importance of play in the role of early childhood development. It’s a fun and easy way for a child to learn problem solving, cognitive development, as well as strength and dexterity training. It was during one of these conversations that the idea of the age-inclusive adult playground was brought up. Initially we all chuckled at the idea of a business man going down a slide with a suit and briefcase, but soon began to discuss the idea further. If a playground is one of the main sources of a child’s physical exercise, why can’t it be the same for adults?
Are Adult Gyms Doing the Work of Adult Playgrounds?
A somewhat recent innovation for the adult play space, that I’m sure many of you have seen, is the outdoor public gym. While not a playground in the traditional sense, the ideas and feeling they evoke are nearly the same. Having pull-up bars instead of monkey bars, and sit-up boards instead of see-saws, visitors are encouraged to use the free equipment during their daily routine. Though the equipment might be aimed at adults, they’re often built in conjunction with, or next to existing playgrounds, creating a fun and fit environment for the whole family. Often as I ride my bicycle through my neighborhood playground here in Boston, I’ll see parents with the same excitement and glee in the fitness section, as the children playing on the playground across the way.
Adult Art That Acts Like a Kid
While it’s rather simple task to urge adults to go out and “play” on free workout equipment, it’s a much harder task to place them in the same mind set of a child on a playground. For that challenge we have to turn our focus to the art and design community, specifically The Chapuisat Brothers.
Recently The Chapuisat Brothers created two hidden pathway installations titled Hyperspace and Intra-Muros-1. Both of the works are presented in a modern gallery setting, but with secret doorways in the walls which lead to hidden tunnels ripe for exploration. Hyperspace specifically recreates the feeling of discovery in playground tunnels, as well as the sense of “safe” fear and danger that goes along with them. This probing into the unknown brings the participant back to that childhood feeling of adventure and inquiry that is sometimes lacking in adulthood.
What’s your opinion on adult playgrounds? Should they be something as practical as a public outdoor gym, or should they be less practical and more entertaining? Write your opinions in the comment sections below!