June 17, 2010
We have an intrinsic desire to manipulate and create our surroundings. This shows itself early in our development, and continues through life. Valuable lessons are encountered through ‘tinkering’ with space, team work, role playing, and failed attempts at crafting structures and relationships. When given the choice between a loose pieces, and a pre-fabricated play structure, children and youth will migrate toward the parts that they can assemble on their own terms.
Providing such a ‘kit-of-parts’ within a play environment allows for uninhibited exploration and growth. As a designer, one of the lessons learned is that perhaps we need to let go and leave more to the users of our spaces. You can’t help but think that such an approach would lead to compelling possibilities in considering urban infrastucture, public space, and environmental design. We’re contemplating this anyways…
Specifically for the loose parts playground, the “Imagination Playground” is a new model for unprescribed play and illustrates the effectiveness of simplicity when young mind are provided the opportunity to give form to their own playspace.
The Rockwell Group, a New York City architectural firm has produced a new model for evolving playscapes. The concept of Imagination Playground is closely related to the ad-hoc adventure playgrounds that blossomed in post-war Europe. Imagination Playground is comprised of mobile boxes that contain a kit-of-parts that can be deployed and assembled in an any fashion that the child-designer so chooses. The nature of the Playground promotes collaboration, creativive play, and a sense of accomplishment. Stationary playsets are hard pressed to offer such adaptability and morphological attributes.
Imagination Playground – http://http//imaginationplayground.org/