Category Archives: Uncategorized

Russian Artist Brings Barren Playgrounds to London

Have you ever had the sense that there are times that playgrounds in your hometown are eerily quiet? It’s a cracking day for an adventure. You head out to a new playground. It’s empty as in deserted. Welcome to the world of Denis Patrakeev.

Denis Patrakeev, Game Earth series – 13 January – 18 February – Erarta, London, UK

I do wonder on these occasions why no one else, other than us, is there. I think maybe that the designs have long ago lost their snap. I think play is regimented, boxed in in well meaning repeatathon structures that are not nearly as flexible as the imaginations that course through, over, and under them.

Denis Patrakeev, Game Earth series

I wonder too what other public space play paradigms can be invented for urban kids? The challenges are no longer the same as they were at the dawn of the playground in the early 20th century. And here, I’m speaking only of those OECDeed countries. Now, it can be argued, the public policy issues are even more pressing. Our children have become indolent, corpulent, alienated from the natural world, from non-digital play. And everywhere on the planet, urbanization continues its relentless march.

Denis Patrakeev, Game Earth series

Are empty playgrounds the canary in the coal mine? I don’t think so. None that I see are as inert, as devoid of life as Patrakeev depicts. There is colour, light and context all around.

It’s important that parents, experts and kids keep the play conversation kinetic, in motion to recognize the best from experiences around the globe.

Noah and Nellie – Play

Sometimes all you need is a bright sunny sky, a ball, and love, sweet love.

Denis Patrakeev via The Independent and Erarta

Hungarian Playgrounds – Slides, Sculptures and Handcrafted Wood

Earlier this month, PlayGroundology posted a video of Hungarian youth refurbishing a neglected and unloved playground. If you haven’t read the post or watched the short video, take a peek here. It’s uplifting to see this playspace come alive again through the efforts of a group of young people.

Playgrounds in such a derelict state are few and far between. Click here for a Hungarian Playgrounds flickr gallery – slides, sculptures and handcrafted wood.

Playtime by NZSam
Playtime, a photo by NZSam on Flickr.

Thanks again to flickr photographers who allow their work to be shared in galleries.

de Adder Strikes Again and PlayGroundology Hits a Century

It’s more great commentary on play as editorial cartoonist de Adder hits two out of the ball park and PlayGroundology hits a century with its 100th post.

de Adder – Metro, September 1, 2011

de Adder – Metro, August 31, 2011

Many thanks to de Adder for allowing these editorial cartoons to be featured in PlayGroundology.

Get out there and play, school’s just one week away (that’s the case in Nova Scotia at least).

The Day Play Was Vaporized

Sixty-six years ago, humanity reached a low point. A searing flash of destruction on an incomprehensible scale above Hiroshima brought life, play and hope to a screaming stop.

Take a moment to think of the victims of that atomic blast. Remember also that armed conflict, natural disasters and famine continue to take their toll around the world. Children are always the most vulnerable in these situations.

Life, play and hope were reborn in Hiroshima. August 6 also commemorates the strength of the human spirit, its capacity to rebuild, to re-imagine, to re-dream.

What actions can we take to help bring about the possibility of play and peace in areas of conflict and disaster?

Here’s a kid powered idea to help with the Japanese tsunami rebuild – Paper Cranes for Japan.

Free the Children is a kid led organization based in Canada that is supporting sustainable projects throughout the world.

There is plenty of good work being done by individuals and organizations at the local and global levels. Find a cause that you can support through financial contributions or personal participation. Make the world a better place.

Go to the Peace Shadow Project for more on Hiroshima remembrance.

Gone playin’

Gone playin’

In the sweet, wild grass

Close to the salty shore

We’re gonna have a whale of a time

See you soon

Sand Wasps close down playgrounds in Montreal and Gatineau, Quebec

An infestation of sand wasps is responsible for closing close to 100 playgrounds in Gatineau and the Montreal area. CTV News story here

ScreenShot Mondays – Playground Ideas

A couple of Mondays per month, PlayGroundology screenshots a cyberspot that focuses on playgrounds, or play. I hope readers dive in and explore. Even if you’ve seen the selection before, take a moment and check to see what content has been added recently.

Playground Ideas

Think of this as a very slow stumble upon, an invitation to relish something new or to revisit an old friend. Some of the people and places may be household names in the world of play and playgrounds, others not so much. I hope all will pique your interest in what they have to offer and further your own possibilities for playfulness.

What I immediately enjoyed at Playground Ideas was the sense of resourcefulness that informs their approach to do-it-yourself playgrounds. There is hope here too and dreams – just look at the wonderful iconography of a child swinging from a shade bearing cloud. Playground Ideas works with a clientele that is far too populous.

We design and build great playspaces to improve the education, wellbeing, and safety of the world’s most disadvantaged children – and we support and train others to do the same.

Registering on the site provides access to more material such as the Playground Manual and the design section. It also enables readers to contribute content of their own. The registration process is quick and painless.

In addition to running small, sustainable projects in Asia, South America, Africa and Oceania, Playground Ideas has also promoted and managed an international design competition.
Photo credit – Playground Ideas

There’s a lot to see and take in here including photos, video, designs and an interesting collection of books.

It’s a great idea to do sustainable, small scale work with local communities to bring playgrounds to the kids.

More Popular Posts from the 1st Year

This is a grab bag of more popular posts from PlayGroundology’s year one. If you missed them first time around, here’s your chance to take a peek at what others have enjoyed.

Monster Mash – Conservation Wins the Day in San Gabriel, CaliforniaSan Gabriel, California
So, you want to go play in a lagoon with monsters? Have I got the place for you. It’s not on the bayou, no endangered mangrove swamps at risk and no flora or fauna about to die off though the playground itself was threatened with extinction in the very recent past.

Chilean Miners Playground – Industrial IngenuityChuquicamata, Chile
Otherworldly with a touch of the surreal describes some unique play structures that sit quietly in Chuquicamata, a former mining town in northern Chile. Located in the Atacama desert, the most arid on the planet, Chuqui is encircled by foothills of slag and tailings from nearly 100 years of mineral exploitation.

Playground Access for All Abilities
Research study, after research study has proven that children need to play. Children need to play because it makes them healthier and less likely to become obese. Children need to play because it makes them more focused in school. Children need to play because it teaches them social skills that are essential to becoming adept adults. Although play has been decreasing from our landscape, many children are still out there playing on playgrounds.

Going Philatelic in SingaporeSingapore
Singapore Post recently gave a hats off to playgrounds with a special issue of commemorative stamps. There are six playgrounds featured on the stamps which extol the virtues of play in developing social skills and physical coordination.

Where Have all the Children Gone Long Time Passing?
New Yorker, Lenore Skenazy is advocating a change in mindset around play, trust and responsibilty as it affects kids. There’s no mistaking her passion for what has become a favourite subject matter. You may have read about Lenore in the national press, or heard her getting interviewed on major television networks. She was responsible for the ‘Take Our Children to the Park… & Leave Them There Day’ campaign in May of 2010.

PlayGroundology is now doing a wee bit of tweetin’. Check us at @playgroundology