Reeling Through The Years

PlayGroundology’s first eight years have gone by in a flash. By the numbers, it’s over 350 posts, 500+ subscribers and closing in on 600,000 site visits from readers in over 140 countries. It appears that the blog is hitting some of the right notes in its writing about play.

This hobby, morphed into an unpaid vocation of sorts, has opened so many doors. I meet play ambassadors from around the world and hear from readers on how they are inspired by specific posts. Most of these encounters take place online but it’s been a real treat to meet some folks in person in Glasgow, Toronto, San Diego and right here at home in Halifax.

There are just so many inspiring stories about play and kids. There is also a lot of important advocacy work to be done to ensure all kids have an opportunity to play. As PlayGroundology gears up for its ninth year, we’ll be sharing some of our milestone stories with you throughout the month of January. I hope you enjoy this first installment.

Manhattan’s Bronze Guy – January 15, 2010

When I first saw photos of Tom Otterness’ Playground, it made me feel like there could be a place for a blog that would look at playgrounds around the world. I remember getting encouragement from two playground blogger friends in New Jersey and California when I floated this as being the first post for a new blog. A couple of weeks later, my New Jersey friend went and checked it out…

This particular piece of sculptural art cum play is representative of exciting, out of the box work that is taking place in pockets in a variety of locations around the globe. One of the most striking aspects for me about this piece, aside from the sticker price, is the scale – wow!!

Tom Otterness was a great interview – open and very giving. I’ve found this to be the case with all the play people I’ve interviewed. He was also my introduction to the symbiotic relationship between art and play, a correlation that can produce powerfully fun elixirs for kids. If you look at the body of Tom’s work, there is a notable playful quality. Following Playground he created Big Girl.

Click Manhattan’s Bronze Guy to read PlayGroundology’s first post.

Go Tell It On The Mountain Montreal’s Salamander Playground – August 21 2010

This day brings back so many memories – mostly sweet but one that was a little scary and still gives me the chills. It was the first PlayGroundology road trip from my son Noah and I.

We were hanging out in Sorel, Quebec with my in-laws and went for a day trip into the city to check this new spot on the Mountain. It was HOT and we did a lot of running around. At four-years-old, Noah had great reserves of energy. After he put the ‘his size’ play stuff through its paces and scampered about the water fountain (that’s our lad in the tie-die shirt in the video near the end of the Go Tell It On The Mountain post), we went down to street level to a weekly drumming event.

Noah got a little African drum and let the beat course through him. But it was too much, he got too hot and was sick on the way back to the car. I was afraid.

Everything turned out fine. We listened to the World Cup final as we got closer to Sorel. Salamander Playground was a great spot to spend the afternoon, a lot of European sensibilities in the equipment – a first time seeing this type of installation for me. Also not to miss here is Georges Dansereau’s tiled art work in celebration of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (photos).

Click Go Tell It On The Mountain Montreal’s Salamander Playground.

In Montreal The Swings Are Alive With The Sound Of Music – May 11, 2011

Yes, there is a bit of a love affair with Montreal. We do like to visit Mélanie’s home and I like to get into the city to see friends and check out play stuff. It is a playful city for kids and adults alike. Montreal playground trivia – every playground has at least one water fountain – brilliant!

These musical swings created a sensation in Montreal and across the internet. The idea has now been exported to the US and with any luck just might come to a city near you. I’m hoping that Halifax might sign on – what a beautiful installation for our downtown waterfront. It’s been a hit year after year in Montreal. Sadly the installation has never coincided with one of our visits. Thanks to one of my dearest friends Moussa for flagging this to me back in 2011, the inaugural year which we missed by just a few days!!

Bravo to Mouna Andraos and Melissa Mongiat who created these tuneful swings that make music together and have created smile moments for so many…

Click In Montreal The Swings Are Alive With The Sound Of Music.

Seven Up! Meets Adventure Playground – November 26, 2011

This is the post from this quartet that I’m tempted to say the most about but will say the least. Take a peek to view the video from Seven Up! It is a clip from the introductory episode from 1964 of this acclaimed documentary and brings the kids together at an Adventure Playground in London at the same time period as this Donne Buck photo taken at Notting Hill Adventure Playground. At 15,000+ views, it’s the most popular video that PlayGroundology has posted.

Out of all the poking about I’ve done into this world of play, it’s adventure playgrounds that really bring the glimmer to my eye. I have yet to actually visit one, with the exception of Baltic Street Adventure Playground in Glasgow that was in development when I got a tour by Assemble a couple of years back.

Click Seven Up! Meets Adventure Playground.

Four blasts from the past – two items for my bucket list, Montreal’s musical swings and a full functioning adventure playground visit.

2 responses to “Reeling Through The Years

  1. Thanks for your message, and well done with its contents. Please note that my photo with the Under Personal Supervision sign is of Notting Hill Adventure Playground (old site in Ladbroke Grove London W11) and not as stated in your note. Donne


    • Thanks Donne – hope all is well with you in 2018. Thanks for your note. I did notice the error of my ways and revised accordingly to Notting Hill Adventure Playground in the blogpost. I must have got carried away with boyhood memories and thoughts of Nottingham Forest. Cheers from Nova Scotia, Alex


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