How a Parkour Course Revived an Aging Playground

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Sometimes the best playground designs result from tight constraints. Six years ago, students and staff at Amigos School, a pre-K-8 Spanish and English immersion school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, moved into a new home. The former administrative building at 15 Upton Street had good bones and the size to accommodate more than 400 students from across… Read more »

Euroflex Balls and Half Balls: Play, Sit, Behold

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Materials are an important aspect of what makes a play space feel welcoming. Children are drawn to spaces they can explore through touch, to tactile shapes and forms that spark the imagination. It doesn’t take much. A box. A ball of yarn. A ball. With only a few small cues, they can envision themselves leaping… Read more »

Going Deep with G Cody QJ Goldberg, Founder of Harper’s Playground

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G Cody QJ Goldberg has had an interesting career, to say the least. The child of bonafide San Francisco hippies, he earned a BFA in film and television studies at New York University, spent a year playing drums with a band of gypsies in Mexico, and worked on branding campaigns for Adidas and Red Bull… Read more »

The 6 Best Sculptural Playgrounds

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If the playspaces finding their way to the “best-of” lists of publications such as Business Insider, Mental Floss, and Land 8 are a sign of the future, the days of the humdrum platform-and-beam playground are in short supply. Whether found in Copenhagen, Sydney, or Memphis, the world’s best playgrounds are filled with tunnels, ropes, cables,… Read more »

Making Music in Parks and Botanic Gardens

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Music and nature have long been sympathetic partners. The tradition of music in gardens reaches back to the open-air rites and communal celebrations of indigenous groups worldwide, and continues today at parks, university campuses, public memorials, and botanic gardens. Here we look at several ways the experience of music in gardens is becoming more accessible… Read more »

Recess is Making a Comeback: Now Required by Law in Five States

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Rotary playgarden san jose inclusive swings

Twenty minutes is the amount of time it takes to eat breakfast or do a short exercise routine. It’s also the amount of time elementary school children in Florida, Rhode Island, Missouri, and New Jersey have for recess, at a minimum, as mandated by recent changes to state laws. The promise of 20 minutes a day… Read more »

The Children’s School of Oak Park: Nature-Play on a Paved Courtyard and a Tiny Budget

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The Children’s School of Oak Park, a progressive K-8 school outside Chicago, turned their parking lot into a nature play space on a nonprofit budget—a little over $1,000 all told. How did they do it? A grant from the Deep Roots Project was part of it. The volunteer-led Chicago community organization teaches people to grow… Read more »

Designer Profile: Architecture Duo Coryn Kempster and Julia Jamrozik Partner with Goric to Reimagine the Playground

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Former Herzog & de Meuron architects Coryn Kempster and Julia Jamrozik started a multidisciplinary architecture practice in 2015 with the aim of bringing together their varied interests in visual arts, public education, and architecture.The duo’s work cuts a wide cloth, from temporary installations to permanent architectural projects, from oral histories to playspaces in disguise. Recognized… Read more »

Playground in the Picturesque: The Revival of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Linear Park in Atlanta

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Where to begin talking about Frederick Law Olmsted? The life and achievements of the Renaissance man revered as the “father” of landscape architecture are almost impossible to summarize succinctly. But a synopsis of the Frederick Law Olmsted Papers Project, a partially published collection of twelve volumes of journals and professional papers spanning the years from… Read more »

Best Playgrounds and Playscapes of 2018

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We bid farewell to the past year with feelings of hope and accomplishment. As we set our sights on 2019, we take heart not only in the varied ways the tools and instruments of play, as defining elements of the public realm, are taking root beyond the playground, but also in the continued advance of… Read more »

‘Tis the Season for Play: A Holiday Wish List for Playgrounds

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With the holiday season in full swing, we’d like to showcase some recently released play options we’re really excited about. We like these designs for distinct reasons. Some uncover the enriching possibilities of the playground for children with atypical physical or cognitive needs. Others are especially innovative and daring in their designs. Still others create… Read more »

Designer Profile: School Zone Institute’s Anne Taylor on Learning by Design

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Around the start of the new millennium, Anne Taylor, Ph.D., the 85-year-old president of School Zone Institute (501-c-3), gave the keynote speech at a conference called Better Schools For a New Century, hosted in San Francisco by the America Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education. Then the director of the Institute for… Read more »