Designer Profile: Joseph Lee, Father of the Playground Movement

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“Do not be forever meddling, interfering, asking questions, showing them a better way. Give the constructive power of your children scope and elbow room – the temple that it builds is invisible to any eyes but theirs. If you blur and jostle their vision, it is lost.” —Joseph Lee, social activist, philanthropist, president of the… 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 »

(Re)Introducing the Spaghetti Line of Sculptural Play Equipment

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Goric is excited to announce the return of our full line of the Spaghettis, a series of imaginative and beautiful sculptural playground equipment. Several years ago our manufacturing partner Linie M (known then as Conlastic) lost the design rights to two of the Spaghettis within the series. Though it was unfortunate at the time to… 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 »

Creating Intergenerational Public Spaces

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A Place and Space for All Benefits Everyone   Many are well aware that intergenerational interactions create enriching experiences for all involved. With the incorporation of design elements that effectively encourage an active involvement from the many adults in a child’s life, a play area’s overall value and ability to promote strong development can be significantly increased. … Read more »

Children Want and Need Movement

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To Develop Mind and Body, You Have to Move “Since it is through movement that the will realizes itself, we should assist a child in his attempts to put his will into act.”– Maria Montessori (source) A child’s natural approach to learning about their world involves playful movement. We learn by doing, and one of… 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 »