Monday, February 18, 2013

The Five Way Tire Swing

A Month of German Inspiration

This is one of the mist engaging pieces I saw in Germany. (Completely against the ASTM safety rules in the US.) This 5 sided wood pole swing structure lets kids swing toward one another and makes for a very dynamic and social swinging experience.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Month of German Inspiration

Introducing the bug hotel, built by high school students to house bugs near their garden. It is also beautiful and artistic.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Play in Unlikely Places

A Month of German Inspiration

A reminder not to take myself to seriously! These hand rails on the stairs provided a bunch of play value too. Kids seem to find something to entertain themselves no matter what.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Water Channels

A Month of German Inspiration

This hand pump and water channel were by far the most popular event in this very busy schoolyard. You can see the boulder water channel that continues into the playground. I am not sure what the vision was, but when we were there the water never got further then 20 feet from the pump. This left the serpentine boulder 'creek bed' dry. In the end I think it was more of an obstruction to running and chasing in the rest of the play area.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Little Forts: In, On and Around

A Month of German Inspiration

There are so many types of little forts, houses and play buildings. Kids use every inch (and side) of these spaces. At this school the roofs were getting just as much use at the inside. Remember this when you decide what is surrounding your fort or house. Make the spaces safe for climbing, jumping and falling.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wild Play in the City

A Month of German Inspiration

In the heart of the Berlin, this long linear park gave kids a sense of wilderness even though it is packed between two 4 story apartment buildings. At first it seems kind of boring, lots of messy vegetation and undeveloped paths. But, this is the empty lot nature experience that urban kids need they can roam, build and manipulate to their hearts content.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Month of German Inspiration

This neat little log wall separated the play area from adjacent uses. Large wood burned designs gave it a nice organic feeling.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Log Without The Collapse Danger

A Month of German Inspiration

I really liked this piece because it was simple and afforded the experience of climbing on and in a log type structure. The steps and slide really enhance the active play options.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Fall Surfacing?!?!

A Month of German Inspiration

I am not sure that German kids are tougher then American kids, or less prone to falling. But, their play environments are not as focused on fall surfacing and use zones. It allows a freedom that we don't see. On this hill a variety of climbing net activities were arranged above a cobble stone pavement. Not only was it stone, but it had a protruding stone every 24" or so. In the Us you would probably see poured in place rubber surfacing. I think the approach above fits the City landscape and has a stronger natural feeling while offering a more interesting risk for kids.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Climbing Play Spider

A Month of German Inspiration

This wooden spider and his accompanying net offered a fun climbing event for little ones. Custom wood creatures were found all over Berlin.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Build Your Own Fort!

A Month of German Inspiration

This adventure play area was fantastic! If I lived near this as a kid this is where you would have found me every day. Each kid can rent a numbered platform for 2 weeks and build their own fort. Two of my favorite management aspects were-
1. They were organized - see the tool rental cabinet above
2. They were creative - kids could pick up old nails and trade them in for new ones to build with!

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Creative use of ping-pong tables

A Month of German Inspiration

This concrete ping pong table was everywhere! In so many schools I saw groups of kids using it creatively. Here a dozen kids walk in a circle around the table while the ball goes back and forth, turning a 2 person game into an active group event.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

A Hidden Art Studio on the Playground

A Month of German Inspiration

 This rock with small bowl shaped divots, sat under a willow dome. It served as a quieter place on a busy schoolyard for a small group of girls to gather. The activity today was' tattoos' with a wet colored pencil. It actually worked really well!

Friday, February 01, 2013

A Month of German Inspiration!

I visited Germany, Berlin specifically, a few years ago and did a 4 day bike tour of nature playscapes. The spaces were amazing. Their outlook and approach to play are very different then the US. I returned feeling energized and hopeful. This month I want to share some of those images with you. I will focus on visuals with a little explanation rather then my regular depth into a topic.

This climbing wall was designed by the school children. they helped carve it out of native stone. There were about 8 large stones all lined up. It seemed to be one of the most popular spots on the playground! May of the schools we saw had carving rocks for the kids to use on the playground.

PS: If you get irritated with the frequent emails, stick with me. I will be back to my usual blog approach next month. :)
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