“There is much art in the creation of vibrant public play spaces. Their aesthetic, their physicality and their spatial rendering push mind and body to new imaginative experiences. This presents a great opportunity for virtual galleries like PlayGroundology FB to curate news, design, research, advocacy and trends.”
Written by Alex Smith, PlayGroundology is a blog that “scours the web for all things bright, beautiful and occasionally tarnished about the world of playgrounds.” Unique and interesting playgrounds, both old and new, are highlighted as well as posts about design, art, history, advocacy groups, and civic engagement as they relate to playgrounds.
Alex writes about playgrounds from around the world and includes beautiful photography with his interesting descriptions. Concrete sculpted art playgrounds from France, vintage photographs and video clips of adventure playgrounds in England, and unique designs of new playground equipment with features such as musical swings are samplings of the varied subjects he brings to his readers.
Alex has recently compiled beautiful pictures of playgrounds and organizations that work with providing play for children. He has used Haiku Deck to create these mobile slide decks (think of them as digital picture books) and currently has two available for view: The Book of Play and Hearts of Play.
Calling himself a PlayGroundologist in training, Alex asserts that PlayGroundology is an emerging social science. He lives in Canada and is kept busy with his young children as they make an adventure out of visiting as many playgrounds as possible.
“Play is not a luxury. It is a necessity and a right. Spaces for play need not be limited to the plastic, prefabricated swings-and-slide model, costing thousands of dollars to create. Playground Ideas can help anyone create a stimulating play space, on any budget, using only local materials, tools and labour. We exist to create a community of designers, researchers, educators, parents, and advocates making play spaces accessible to all children everywhere. That’s why all of our resources are open-source and free. Stimulating play spaces should be, and can be, available for all.”
“Today we’re proud to announce that our design library is now bursting with over 150 designs. That’s over 150 step-by-step instructions that anyone can build. To celebrate this exciting milestone, over the next 150 days we’ll be profiling a design a day from our library on our blog, along with stories of how these elements were created and examples of how they’ve been used around the world.”
PlaygroundIDEAS first began in 2008 with a group of volunteers building playgrounds along the Thai-Burma border. In 2010, they started a website to share what they had learned with others interested in doing the same. People started joining them. They have now built an online network of passionate people from Azerbaijan to Zambia who are creating access to play across the globe.
PlaygroundIDEAS is a not-for-profit organization that designs and builds play spaces for the world’s most disadvantaged children. They operate with the help of international volunteers and funders, to help organizations and individuals create quality playgrounds for children all over the world.
“We believe that playground design should be a reflection of the world surrounding us. We see the world as a place full of color. We meet boys that like pink and girls that like climbing trees. Why only play on a monkey frame and in a sandbox, when you can play in a moon crater or a submarine or a giant spider or an enormous snail or a Trojan horse or a rocket or an ant or a princess castle. The fantasy is infinite.”
“The world is a truly fantastic, colorful and dangerous place for kids to grow up in. The playground has to be an equally inspiring alternative where kids can learn to assess risks in a safe environment.”
MONSTRUM was founded in 2003 by the passionate spirits of Ole B. Nielsen and Christian Jensen. The company is located in Hvidovre, Denmark, a suburb of Copenhagen. With a background in designing and building theatrical sets, the artists and designers at MONSTRUM use this experience to combine elements where not only physical activities and play evolve, but also a visual story is created in the play space to allow fantasy to thrive.
MONSTRUM’s core focus is on visual design, motor challenges, and safety. Their play structures are made of wood and are whimsical in nature. Their playground designs have been nominated for numerous awards, and in 2012 they won the Danish Design Award as well as the AOK, Best child experience in Copenhagen.