The Gamification of the Playground

Personal Best - tech on the playground Throughout my childhood we played pretty much everywhere including the streets. Much of our play was kid-generated games and “projects.” During my daughter’s childhood, play happened in vacant lots, creek beds, and backyards. Now my grandchildren play on “safe” playgrounds, and the older kids opt for skateboarding and dirt bikes. So it doesn’t surprise me to see that the use of playgrounds today is predominately by parents with young children. Most playgrounds are designed for older children but the older kids find them boring. Wouldn’t it be great if we could find a way to entice older children back to the playgrounds?

Using Super Powers to Design a Playspace

The Periodic Table of 21st Century Play - by Laura Richardson As we discussed in our last column, Laura Richardson’s insightful The Periodic Table of 21st Century Play poster can a powerful tool in the hands of designers and communities when they seek to create truly human and engaging places that support play. As an illustration of how this can work, I will use Laura’s 11 categories, which she refers to as the super powers of play, and create a virtual playground.

The Joy of Heights in Accessible Tree-Houses

The Pepper Family Accessible tree-house “Imagine if you could create a world for your children, one that they would never forget...a magical tree house land filled with action, excitement and squeals of delight, a tree house, fueled by make-believe and the imagination of the young or a tree house inviting journeys to far-off lands, yet still safe to explore...Imagine that your children they could run through the air and soar like an eagle and cross deep ravines and scale mountainous heights. Scramble over unchartered terrain and swing through the trees...and they could do all of this, without ever leaving their own back garden.”

Utah nonprofit uses playtime to shape future for Ghanians

Children play on an Empower Playground In rural areas where hundreds of students attend school, there’s little chance that the schools will receive power for decades. When the sun goes down nightly around 6 p.m., homework can’t be completed until the following day. There are no overhead lights, no illuminated computer screens, no lamps with cords running from the wall. This is where a Utah nonprofit organization comes in. Ben Markham, founder of Empower Playgrounds, had an idea to see if kids could generate enough power to provide some lighting while playing.