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 »

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 »

Could A Music Playground Be Your Child’s First Instrument?

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When children learn to talk, they start by making sounds, then imitating those they hear. Richard Cooke, who has created a family of xylophone-like and percussive instruments for parks, believes playing simple instruments by ear may be a better way for children to begin to learn how to play music than trying to read music… Read more »

Benefits of Outdoor Activities for Children with ADHD

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If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know we’ve touched on ADHD before. It’s important, of course, as a matter of public health and wellness. But it’s also a design concern of growing interest. More and more landscape architects, playground designers, and manufacturers are recognizing their role in creating environments that benefit those… Read more »

The Evolution of Nature Playgrounds

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It was against the backdrop of the volatile interwar years in Europe that celebrated Danish landscape architect, Carl Theodor Sørensen first conceived of the idea of skrammellegepladsers or, “junk playgrounds”. Observing children playing in junkyards and construction sites, he was struck by the notion that, through a child’s eyes, almost any object could become beautiful… Read more »

How to Design a Park to Build Community

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Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting a stop along The 606 for a family night organized by the Trust for Public Land. The linear park, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates, is work of art in its own right, a nearly three-mile-long trail for bikers, runners, and walkers, lined with prairie… Read more »

A Place for Public Art

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Public art plays a crucial role in shaping vibrant and sustainable communities. From mosaics and sculptures to performance art and interventions, public art gives voice to artists across disciplines, while beautifying public spaces and acting as an agent for social change and community revitalization. Cities such as San Francisco, Cambridge, and Chicago recognize the importance… Read more »

Six Ways Parents Can Support Their Children on the Playground

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Any parent who has ever witnessed a child’s first steps knows what the glow of fresh independence looks like. It is a messy, non-linear process, as the new toddler begins teetering around, falling, and getting up again. As parents, it can be simultaneously splendid and terrifying to watch, and it is a practice they’ll have… Read more »

Sensory Playgrounds for Children with Autism Spectrum and Sensory Integration Disorders

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The title of Jonathan Safran Foer’s second novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, has absolutely nothing to do with playgrounds. But the phrase has stuck with me as an illustration of what it means to be a child, where at times the world can be overwhelming and, frankly, a bit scary. Playgrounds are intended as… Read more »

The 6 Best Parks and Playgrounds for Seniors

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Jared Diamond, an American scientist known for popular science books, such as Guns, Germs, and Steel and The World Until Yesterday, gave an interesting 2013 TedTalk concerning the wide differences in how societies regard senior citizens. As he mentions in the talk, one way these differences are manifest is in filial patterns and living arrangements. For… Read more »