How to Make Sand Accessible at Playgrounds

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Accessibility is crucial for children who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices to enjoy playgrounds, and a big part of that relies on surfacing.  Ground surfaces along accessible routes and maneuvering spaces must comply with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F 1951- 99 standard. The standard measures the work an individual must… Read more »

Best Multigenerational Play and Fitness Equipment

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Across the country, more and more fitness equipment aimed at senior centers is coming on the market. From a health standpoint, it makes sense. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) notes that regular cardiovascular exercise can help seniors strengthen the heart and muscles, boost energy and endurance, and control blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Strength… Read more »

Best Small Playgrounds with Big Play

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Small playgrounds and playspaces need not consist of crowded assemblages of equipment. In fact, restraints imposed by site conditions are often where some of the most creative and cohesive designs find their origins. Because there is not always the available space or budget needed for ambitious projects on the scale of MonstroCity in St. Louis… Read more »

Micro-Playgrounds: Six Tips for Designing for a Small Space

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If increasing urbanization and limited housing stock has led to a wave of micro-units, rooming houses, and residential hotels in spatially constrained cities such as New York and San Francisco, there is a corollary in the world of playgrounds. For lack of a better term: the micro-playground. These compact designs, which typically fit on footprints… Read more »

Designer Spotlight: Hitchcock Design Group

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One of my favorite places to go for a walk is the Spruce Plot at the Morton Arboretum, outside Chicago. There is a perceptible hush and temperature drop on entering the forest, as though you’ve been transported to another time and place. A grid of towering spruces crowds out the sky. Dim light filters through… Read more »

Intergenerational Playgrounds Unite the Young and Old

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China is believed to have led the way on the development of multigenerational playgrounds, adopting a national law that resulted in a nationwide physical fitness program geared for elderly citizens. The idea took hold quickly. After spreading across Asia and Europe (Spain has more than 600 models), playgrounds for seniors began popping up in the… Read more »

The Oldest Slide in the World? Maybe Not. Fun? Definitely.

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The origins of the first children’s slide is a subject of uncertainty. The BBC credits historians with the discovery of archival photos of a planked wooden structure by engineer Charles Wicksteed that resembles a widened stair-rail. Built in 1922 in Kettering, Northamptonshire, the slide is mounted by a nine-foot-tall ladder that leads to the top… Read more »

What’s a Montessori Playground?

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I am searching for Montessori preschool programs for my son. For someone whose favorite household activity is preparing sausage soup in his play kitchen, the focus on using real world tools seems a natural fit. We’ll see how the chips fall, but I’m hoping we can find him a spot. The progressive education approach has… Read more »

Top Eight Indoor Playgrounds

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For many people, the self-contained indoor soft play areas at McDonalds bring back fond memories. I can remember, myself, at the age of five or six, enjoying a Happy Meal and then spending the next thirty minutes diving into a nest of colored balls. I’m not entirely sure what attracted me to the play areas,… Read more »

The 7 Best Playgrounds of 2016

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The days of monkey bars suspended over pea gravel are far behind us. But the evolution of playgrounds is happening so fast, and in such varied ways, the change can seem dizzying. Certainly one of the biggest trends of 2016 is the growing popularity of fitness-focused playgrounds designed for older children and adults. Another is… Read more »

Designer Spotlight: Horst Henke – The Man Who Brought Wood To North American Playgrounds

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If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know the name Rick Henke. Raised in Kiel Germany, Henke immigrated to the US in the 1970s and founded the Goric Marketing Group USA in 1994. With his background in engineering and his involvement in developing playground safety standards in Canada, Rick was an early creator… Read more »