A Small Collection of Resources on the Importance of Quality Playground Equipment and Design
One of the more wonderful aspects of play is how it can foster a sense of community. It is no accident that many of our first friendships were formed while using playground equipment. And just on the edges of that play area, our parents often met for the first time as well. From teeter-totters to swings to the inclusive playground equipment being designed today, playgrounds are meant to bring people together.
This idea of creating a larger and ever growing community extends to those of us who have remained dedicated to creating opportunities for everyone to experience the many benefits of play. What follows is some of our favorite blogs and related sites dedicated to how playground equipment supports play and play-like activities for children and adults alike. We invite you to add them to the sites you regularly visit.
Founder Alex Smith has been advocating for a, “wider range of play opportunities for kids in public spaces,” since early 2010. Since then, his blog has grown to encompass every aspect of playgrounds, and how they are advancing worldwide along with a greater appreciation on the impact and benefits of play itself. The site’s blog posts often feature wonderful photos of both natural playscapes and imaginatively designed playgrounds. Thousands of people visit Alex’s blog and enjoy his perspective and advocacy every single day. We encourage you to become one of them.
You can visit the blog here: https://playgroundology.wordpress.com/
Paige Johnson, the author and editor of Playscapes, started her blog out of a bit of frustration. She had been tasked with finding options for a small playground for her church. Fortunately for all of us, what she found did not meet her expectations or ideas on what playgrounds are and could become. She sought equipment that spoke to the creative energy and do-it-yourself nature of early playground design (something we have written about before). So she began collecting and organizing what information she could find, both online and offline, into the impressive resource we now love today. Along the way, she built one the most popular sites relating to playgrounds and the benefits of play.
You can visit the blog here: http://www.play-scapes.com/
Let the Children Play
This site is dedicated to the idea of unstructured play, especially outdoors and in natural settings. It is a one-stop shop for both hundreds of ideas for outdoor play and learning, as well how to advocate for more unstructured play time in the lives of children everywhere. The site has spent significant time gathering information and developing what it calls the ‘Play Outside!’ database, a continuously expanding collection of great ideas for outdoor play and play spaces. The numerous play ideas and pictures of various playscapes can quickly inspire anyone to get outside and explore (or create) play opportunities in their own communities.
You can visit the blog here: http://www.letthechildrenplay.net/
Active Kids Club
Admittedly similar to Let the Children Play profiled above, this site is dedicated to outdoor play and exploration. Their philosophy is based on the Norwegian word, “Friluftsliv.” Which roughly translates into enjoying nature as a way of life. To this end, the site’s resources goes a bit beyond play itself to include gardening and even foraging edible plants found in nature. We recommend the site for its numerous videos and wealth of tips for encouraging active play no matter the weather. The site also promotes the outdoor playgroup movement and has resources for forming your own playgroup with neighbors in your community.
You can visit the blog here: http://www.activekidsclub.com/
Surprise Entry: Reddit’s r/playgrounds Community
Reddit is a very popular social network that bills itself as the ‘Front Page of the Internet.’ When news stories, videos, or images go viral, they tend to get their start in one of Reddit’s countless and ever expanding number of communities. Anyone can create and curate a community on Reddit on nearly any topic, which, as a bit of a warning, makes many parts of the site decidedly NSFW. When a video, image, or link to a story is posted to a community, the members can choose to upvote or downvote it based on their own preferences. Using this system, the posts that then rise to the top of the r/playgrounds community on Reddit are often filled with interesting and insightful information on emerging trends in playground design and creation.
You can visit this community here: https://www.reddit.com/r/playgrounds/
An Expanding Sphere of Influence
As the many benefits of well-designed playground equipment becomes better understood by educators, play activists, and local communities everywhere, the resources available to everyone online will only continue to grow. We regularly come across new and increasingly better-organized efforts to expand access to quality playgrounds to children and adults of all ages and abilities. This is a trend Goric is proud to support. We hope you will visit the sites listed above and add your voice and perspective to this expanding online eco-system of play.