Let the Games Begin

For the next 16 days the world will be watching the action unfold at London’s XXX Olympiad. This is a time of focused, high performance play when athletes try to exceed their personal best for the ultimate glory of a podium prize. There will be no shortage of superhuman accomplishments over the course of these two weeks, incredible stories of endurance, strength and skill.

I can’t help but wonder how many of the gifted athletes from all corners of the globe were risk takers at their local play places as they were growing up. Was outdoor play an important component of their early childhoods?

When all the medals are counted, when the athletes and fans have returned home and the brouhaha is a distant echo, the Olympic site will be reclaimed for the people of London and transformed into Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. One of the features will be a spanking new playground.

Click to enlarge

The designers were selected through a competitive process. You can read about it in Tim Gill’s blog Rethinking Childhood. Tim is a former Director of the Children’s Play Council now Play England and was a member of one of the juries that reviewed designers’ submissions.

erect architecture and Land Use Consultants (LUC) are the winners of the North Park competition. The London Legacy Development Corporation’s news release describes erect architecture as “an emerging practice with a strong focus on culture, education and play. Their buildings and playspaces have won several high profile awards for projects such as the Kilburn Grange Playpark in north-west London.”

Based on the design and the firm’s previous work, we can look forward to an exciting playscape taking shape post Olympics.

Kilburn Grange Adventure Playground, London. Source: UK Playground Adventure

If you’re in London with kids and aren’t taking in any Olympic action, or just need a break, check out London Play and click on their ‘Play in London’ menu button to find Adventure Playgrounds and more.

We can’t all be Olympians but we can all play, play, play…

14 responses to “Let the Games Begin

  1. Nice post Alex, and thanks for the credit and links. We’re excited about the Olympics, and about the Legacy Park!


  2. Hi Alex, glad you were able to use the photo….thanks for credit and link, appreciate it. I’ll be interested to see how Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park turns out! Best, David.


    • Thanks David, are you also the author then of UK Playground Adventure? Happy to be introduced to the possibility project looks like a great blog. Cheers, Alex


      • Hi Alex,

        I think I may have cross-referenced my two blogs when commenting earlier…yeah, I do the Possibility Project blog and UK Playground Adventure. I’ve gotten a bit swamped with some other projects, but I’ll be getting back to both blogs soon (I hope).


      • I’ve just had a bit of an unplanned break from PlayGroundology.It’s good fun but a lot of work too. A wee break is good on occasion. Cheers


  3. Reblogged this on Sunflower Creative Arts and commented:
    Watching the Olympics with your kids? Check out this terrific blog from Playgroundology. Once the games are over, what will happen to the site? Reclaimed as commercial space? No way thanks to the hard work of many who care about children and play. Our good friend, Tim Gill, of Rethinking Childhood, was instrumental in the development of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Fantastic!


    • Thanks Victoria. It is a brilliant idea to dedicate some of the space for play. Based on the design, I’d love to get a play on it with my kids. We’ll be sure to look it up if we make it to London after it’s been built. Watched the opening ceremonies last night – phenomenal…Cheers, Alex


  4. Pingback: Let the Games Begin! « Sunflower Creative Arts

  5. Thanks Alex, for this wonderful post. I too wonder if today’s Olympians were risk takers on their local playgrounds and if outdoor play was important to them. I just reblogged this for my Sunflower Creative Arts families. Bravo to Tim Gill and the UK for choosing to repurpose the site after the games as a play space! So wonderful. We will be watching now and as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park unfolds in the years to come with excitement.


    • Susan, thanks for your note. I hope your readers enjoy the post, particularly the photos and the link to Rethinking Childhood. It’s wonderful to see an opportunity for play created and seized by people who care. We saw the opening last night – absolutely awesome. Enjoy the games…. Alex


  6. This post gives an update on plans for the Park, along with a link to a more recent article of mine. Still on course for some fine play opportunities, I reckon.


  7. Pingback: Let the Games Begin! | Sunflower Creative Arts

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