Skating Rinks Are Breathing New Life into Parks

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Which events you watch in the winter Olympics has a lot to do with where you live. A story published just last week in the New York Times chronicles these national preferences along with the possible cultural and social reasons behind them. In many parts of the world, including the United States and Canada, sports… Read more »

4 Parenting Tips to Encourage Healthy Risk-Taking at Playgrounds

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“Careful, you’ll fall!” Hearing another parent shout this or something similar to his child when she’s scrambling up a climbing frame can make bystanders stop in their tracks. This parent, though likely well-intentioned, may be undermining his child’s healthy sense of exploration and could even scare her into letting go and falling off. Risk-taking, experiencing… Read more »

Is Ping Pong Becoming the Coolest Sport in The Country?

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Hipsters have had their hands in dozens of comeback business trends: vinyl records, food trucks, boxing clubs, boutique cupcakes, arcade bars. The latest, it seems, is table tennis. Given a major lift when actress Susan Sarandon opened the ping pong bar and venue SPiN in New York, the Olympic sport is the new cool thing… Read more »

Designer Profile: Nathan Elliott, Principal at the Office of James Burnett on Persistence in Playground Design

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Nathan Elliott didn’t always follow his creative instincts. The principal with the Office of James Burnett in Solana Beach, California, says he went into computer science at Louisiana State University on the model of his brother, but “flubbed out” of the weeder courses. His girlfriend was enrolled in LSU’s landscape architecture program at the time,… Read more »

The 7 Best Indoor Playgrounds to Beat the Winter Blues

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When the temperature drops to single digits and below, as it did here in Chicago last week, the bite of winter can be too severe for children to play outside. For parents, that can mean struggling with cabin fever and restless kids. Fortunately, indoor play spaces are becoming more and more prevalent, especially in urban… Read more »

10 Wonderful Last-Minute Holiday Gifts for Nature Lovers

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Most of your holiday shopping is done, right? Or maybe it isn’t. At Goric, we’ve decided to devote this week’s blog to helping you find gifts for the nature lovers in your life. Here are ten terrific gift ideas to finish off your holiday shopping. Or, for some of you, to get started. Birdfeeder or… 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 »

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum: Inside the Home of a Legendary Social Reformer and Play Advocate

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Just off Halsted Avenue, on the campus of the University of Illinois Chicago, sits the Hull House, an unassuming, low-gabled brick building that was once the private home of Jane Addams and the heart of the Hull House settlement. The residence first built for Charles Hull in 1856 has been preserved as a museum and… Read more »

Giving Thanks To Our Nation’s Best Parks and Recreation Departments

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Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the people and places that bring meaning to our lives. At Goric, we’d like to recognize the holiday by expressing our appreciation for the work of five city park departments, which have excelled in making their park systems accessible places for recreation, quiet refuge, and play. In May,… Read more »

Playground Shade: A Matter of Necessity

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Shade is an integral, if undervalued, aspect of playground design. Some of the best playgrounds earn their distinction because they offer a range of sun-protected areas where children can play and rest. And some very good playgrounds could be better if they provided more shade to sustain longer stretches of play, protect children from intense,… Read more »

Because It Is There: Six Trends in Playground Climbing Structures

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In a 1923 interview with a New York Times reporter, Himalayan mountain climber George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest. His famous response, “because it is there,” may seem irreverent on its face, but beneath the deadpan lies a deeper truth. The desire to reach the top of things, to push ourselves… Read more »

The Vestibular System: The Sixth Sense of Playground Design

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Several weeks ago, at the ASLA conference in Los Angeles, Greg Miller, principal landscape architect at MRWM, and Lucy Miller, founder and director at the STAR institute for Sensory Processing Disorder, discussed how children with sensory disorders benefit from strategically designed playgrounds and gardens. Their presentation drew my thoughts to a lesser known neuro-cognitive development… Read more »