Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Forest School Short Film

No classroom for these school children: this documentary film takes us to a forest kindergarten in Switzerland where children age 4 to 7 spend every day outside in the forest. I wish I went to school here. I would love to find a place like this for my daughter.


Giant Treehouse, Outdoor Trains and Lots More to Discover at Highfield

The Highfield Discovery Garden is located in Hamilton County Park's Glenwood Gardens. While the entire sight is full of trails, nature, and wonder the discovery garden is especially amazing.

The magical tree just calls you to enter.

Designed by Site Masters of Cincinnati, this is truly jam packed with things to find. Highfield Discovery Garden is designed to teach children the importance of nature while they have fun exploring seven themed garden areas. I have the pleasure of working with Teri Hendy of Site Masters in an upcoming natural playground project. I am definately looking forward to it after seeing the details of Highfield.

Inside the tree: lots of light and nets to keep us safe.

Giant mushrooms add wonder to the flower and herb garden

My nephew was enchanted with the outdoor trains. They ran on three levels, through wooden tunnels and across bridges.

A windstorm in the park provided timber for whimsical art.

Even the small details were there. This little fairy village allows kids to get in and play.

The water features are designed to be shallow while looking like ponds and wetlands. The mesh on the top of this photo keeps children from falling into the deeper sections.
He could barely wait to enter the twisty house (above) and found a few educational pieces inside which he read with his mother on a nearby bench (below).

Winter gardens teemed with greens.

Trails of all materials and sizes encourage exploration

I would love to see this type of discovery space in every city. Our kids deserve it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Whimsical Snake Breaks Through Playground!

This long green snake breaking through the tipsy tower and the maze of crooked balance beams must attract any young visitor at this ballet inspired playground.

The Danish company Hampus Playgrounds put together this magical piece containing:
- A large and small climbing wall
- 3 levels of play and climbing challenges
- Giant snake for climbing and balancing
- Climbing Rosk
- Balance Beams
- 3 sided climbing net
- Balance Ropes

Humpus Playgrounds has been making fascinating kids play equipment for 10 years. I like how their play approach is based in pedagogy and child development. They also highlight safe, cost effective, durable and sustainable playgrounds. Their promotional literature says

"Our design offers unusual shapes that challenge the mind and body. Our unique design and the search for innovative solutions has background in modern pedagogical and physiological knowledge. Children's physical, cognitive and creative development has the best conditions in diverse and varied environment close to nature's own idiom."

I am sure we will see more great design out of this Danish shop.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Playable Design Winners

Playable Design has posted their winners from the playable 10 international design competition. This is the annual global search for inspiring play design. Here are some of my favorite submimssions.

Woodruff Park in the heart of downtown Atlanta will be the home to the winning design in the Playable Art group. The winning designer was Jeff Santos, a gaming and app designer from Canada. This was the first time he had ever created a play piece. The ATL play structure, one-of-a-kind design makes it perfect for such a unique site where kids, young tourists, college students and even office workers are expected to enjoy its many playful components.

The Atlanta Beltline is a 22-mile linear park following an old rail line encircling Atlanta. This project will transform the city over the next 20 years. Design a conceptual master plan for play that could have huge impact on Atlantans for decades. The images above is from the playable site catergory submitted by Max Askew. The option below plays off of the rail history of the site.

See the competition website for DIY printable instructions for play elements in the DIY catergory.
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