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.

Unleashed: Off-leash Dog Park Design Trends and Planning Tips

Unleashed Guidebook by PlayCore
The Unleashed guidebook educates professionals, individuals, and communities on how they can advocate for off-leash dog parks. The guidebook provides information on the value and benefits of these spaces, the design considerations associated with dog parks, and planning and implementation strategies. Marketing and programming ideas are highlighted to help communities increase their use and potential revenue sources. Successful off-leash dog park case studies are also presented to help inspire advocates to take action in their community.

What makes a great playground? It’s all about what you can do

What makes a great playground survey
Delving into what may be the most intransigent subject in the play industry, I decided to investigate public opinion on what truly makes a great playground. Rather than rely solely on industry or education based opinions, I also took the question to the public. The results were somewhat surprising, although what wasn’t surprising was that the answers varied greatly. There was, however, a very clear common theme: A great playground is all about what you can DO there.