‘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 »

Zorlu Center in Instanbul,Turkey: A Case Study

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This week we feature a guest blog from the Dutch design firm Carve, a case study in which the authors describe the design of a challenging, architecturally stunning playground developed in Instanbul, Turkey in collaboration with London-based WATG landscape architects. We’re enamored with the two stacked cubic towers—gorgeous structures that hang in suspension like a… Read more »

Meet the Vertical Playground: The Wallholla

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Verticality has been an architectural obsession since the time of the first skyscrapers in the late nineteenth century. But, at playgrounds, the idea of building lofty, multi-story structures on a small footprint is relatively young. Of course, with a higher percentage of the population dwelling in cities than ever before, and land at a premium,… 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 »

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 »

L.A.’s 9 Best Playgrounds

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Los Angeles is known for fast cars, great beaches, Hollywood celebrities, and beloved musicians, such as the late-Tom Petty. Its parks and playgrounds may be less front and center in area tour guides, but they are nonetheless among the country’s best. From sculptural designs worthy of the boisterous and daring hand of acclaimed L.A.-based architect… Read more »

Twelve Years Later: Revisiting Susan Solomon’s Call to Revitalize American Playgrounds

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The book American Playgrounds: Revitalizing Community Space, by writer and architectural historian Susan Solomon, opens with a scathing—and forcibly blunt—indictment of modern American playgrounds, to wit: “Existing American playgrounds are a disaster.” The picture Solomon paints in the introduction of her 276-page historical review and contemporary playground study is familiar to anyone who has seen the… Read more »

Roof top playgrounds by CAD Details

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What You Need to Know Before Building a Rooftop Playground   When you imagine a playground you’ll commonly think of an open expanse of freshly cut green grass, shiny new playground equipment, and children laughing. That image, while still promising for individuals in rural areas, isn’t viable for many urban environments. Instead of frolicking in… 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 »

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 »

The Many Benefits of Naturally Playful Playscapes

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Natural Elements that Include the Surrounding Area Set These Playscapes Apart     Play is a means by which we first form our understanding of the wider world. Most of our earliest interactions involve play and play-like behaviors. For example, peek-a-boo is an important milestone in cognitive development that demonstrates an emerging understanding of the concept of… Read more »

Rock Climbing & Other Challenges

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Inverted wall climber

As a child I spent many hours on the swing in my backyard, talking to my friends, the trees.  Of course I also loved to slide on slides (my favorite slide must have been at least 80’ long, located at High Park in Toronto –It’s no longer there and I can’t believe I could find… Read more »