Archive for August, 2013

Playful Imagination

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

The more I work on this project the broader in scope I can see it getting. I am trying to stick to the self-imposed mandate of telling stories whenever hands, tools and materials converge. PLAY is an overlapping topic. It is especially relevant when you talk about the playground. One evolution that has happened is the rising concern with safety and the related matter of liability. I remember very well the scary feeling I got when I went for a spin on the merry-go-round. The one I remember was a lot lower to the ground than the one in this picture. The thought that I could have gotten my foot caught underneath the spinning platform still gives me the shivers. Making playgrounds safe is very necessary but equally important is providing the opportunity to learn how to be safe and reasonably cautious and how to evaluate danger.

KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit that believes our children are playing less than any previous generation, and this lack of play is causing them profound physical, intellectual, social, and emotional harm. Imagination Playground is one organization that is trying to alleviate that problem. They believe the best play experience you can provide kids in a public space consists of loose parts such as sand, water, boards (with all the splintery edges sanded down) and oversized blue foam blocks. As well there are many things available in the hardware store that could be used as loose parts in a playground.

Coming back to safety there are risks when working with your hands. Sometimes power tools and sharp implements are involved. Another type of risk is failure. You have to be brave to work with your hands as things don’t always turn out the way you think they will. I like having that risk. Safe practises can be taught but being 100% successful making or fixing something… that never happens.

UPDATE: This article by Margaret Wente “The kids don’t play any more” has some interesting perspectives (especially in the comment section).