Wednesday, March 17, 2010


This is a pretty amazing idea for creative play; inexpensive, with limit less possibilities. The 'pod' could be installed in any school playground and unlocked during play times. Inside the pod is a variety of building materials and scrap pieces of other elements.

I could see this working well in Portland area schools. Working closely with SCRAP and the rebuilding center, schools could find materials that are appropriate and do not dictate a certain type of play. Make sure you watch the movie clip on the site!

Thanks Children's Scrap Store for this great information and video.

A Pod similar to this one is placed on the playground and filled with scrap building pieces and materials. Students are free to go in the pod and use materials as they want to.

Children Play in small groups and large groups with a lot of fluidity between them.
Increased Cooperation and less conflict were observed while students used the pod materials.

Friday, March 05, 2010


Michelle Mathis of GreenWorks will be presenting at the ORPA and OPRD workshop on Natural Play Areas.  The workshop will be held on March 31, 2010 at Silver Falls State Park.

Workshop Description
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) aims to create a participatory design process that will serve as a template of how to design and build for Natural Play Areas. The overarching goal of this program is to aid in the state effort to better connect youth with nature. In addition to building play areas, the design process and model designs will be ‘packaged’ for use by other park providers applying for OPRD land water conservation fund and local grant funding. This workshop will enable participants to learn about the program, discover examples of what a Natural Play Area is, and receive information on how they might apply for grant to build their own Natural Play Areas. It will be of particular interest to county and city government employees as well as play designers, however the workshop has been designed to be of interest to all those interested in the growing phenomenon of Natural play in Oregon.


GreenWorks organized and led a Nature Based Play Tour early this year. We had an increasing number of clients, peers and local agencies that were showing an interest in natural play options. Many of these agencies are still working through questions like; how nature play works, what makes something nature play, and what are the benefits and nature play. GreenWorks and members from Oregon Park and Recreation Department, Portland Parks and Recreation, Metro, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Miller Hull, and Mahlum Architects met to talk over issues surrounding nature play and visit some examples.

Site Visits Included:
Catlin Gable School

Cooper Mountain Nature Area 

Memorial Park - City of Wilsonville

Providence Montessori School

GreenWorks is currently working with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to design their first natural play area at Silver Falls State Park to open in 2011. I will post updates here as we move forward.
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