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  • Engaging young minds with custom playgrounds

    At Playworld, we’re always looking for ways to help little folks laugh, learn, and grow. Our playgrounds often serve as foundations of children’s play, allowing them to develop skills and discover the world around them. Research shows that imaginative, make-believe play helps develop a variety of mental abilities, including sustained attention, memory, logical reasoning, language and literacy skills, as well as creativity.

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    To entice even the youngest of minds to the playground, it is critical to create unique, modern spaces that kids will want to explore. Custom playgrounds can provide children with exciting play spaces that spark their curious imaginations. Thinking “custom” means a bigger price tag? Don’t worry, there are many ways to customize a playground for any budget. All you need to get started is a stellar idea to infuse personality into the play space.

    Playworld, along with our network of distributors, will listen to your needs and soak up inspiration from your local community. These unique projects provide a creative atmosphere for children and can help playgrounds fit effortlessly into their surroundings.

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    For example, children living at Joint Base Charleston, an Air Force facility, are flying high thanks to a new, custom playground. The play space features two areas, one for kids ages 5-12 and the other for those ages 2-12. A rocket-themed play structure was a completely custom piece designed specifically for this community of air base families. The structure for younger children features play panels with custom graphics that resemble the design of the C-17 Globemaster planes that call the air base home. The playground allows young kids to play in a space that fits seamlessly into their community. The familiarity also provides children with a comfortable environment while giving them a platform for imaginative play. For the young kids residing on the base, the sky is limit at their airplane-focused playground.

    From playgrounds featuring planes and trains to hockey, whimsical gardens and everything in between, Playworld can help make today’s dream tomorrow’s reality.  Learn about some of our  custom playground projects and start designing yours today.

  • Funding for Playgrounds: How Can We Raise Money?

    Funding for Playgrounds: How Can We Raise Money?

    Various businesses and organizations, ranging from daycare centers to YMCAs to places of worship, across the country have raised significant amounts of money for playgrounds. Playground funding goals include anywhere from a few thousand dollars for playground maintenance to $40,000 to $80,000 for a complete playground build.

  • 2016 US Play Coalition conference

    The annual US Play Coalition’s Play Conference 2016 took place last month at Clemson University and focused on the importance of outdoor play of all types, including manipulative and nature play. Other central themes of the 2016 conference included redefining play, culture and community.

    The highly anticipated industry event brought together play researchers, park and recreation professionals, educators, health scientists, landscape architects, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents to discuss and promote the value of play for people of all ages and abilities. In addition to the keynote speakers, the Play Conference 2016 included networking opportunities, dozens of educational sessions and other presentations. My coworker and Playworld distributor in Singapore, Patrick Lee, spoke on how play is being managed outside of the USA.

    This year’s theme was “rebooting play” and the latest research, initiatives and practices in the field of play were presented. One hot topic at the conference was ensuring play is available everywhere for everyone – even in unexpected places like pop-up playgrounds and closed-off streets. In fact, my friend and colleague David Flanigan, director of grants management for KaBOOM!, introduced the idea and truly crystallized the play everywhere concept. If you haven’t already heard, KaBOOM! recently launched The Play Everywhere Challenge, a national competition that will award $1 million in prizes for the best replicable, scalable innovations in city redevelopment and design that help make play easy, available and fun for kids and families.

    I was honored to have the opportunity to speak about making parks relevant.

    Communities change continuously. If their parks and outdoor spaces do not change in parallel, societal needs and what is offered for outdoor recreation will be mismatched. My presentation focused on the trends that affect outdoor spaces, park and recreation funding trends and I shared examples of low cost ways to change the perceived value of outdoor recreation to the community.

    Unlike some events where there are people from the same field discussing various issues, this conference continuously brings together professionals from different disciplines to discuss the important issue of play.

    What issues related to play concern you the most?

  • Inside Design: Branch Out

    I’ve worked in the playground equipment industry for decades and one of the best aspects of my job is getting to see firsthand the pure joy that play brings to children. My team and I work hard ensuring we’re continually innovating and designing equipment that keeps children excited about free play.

    For a while we’ve been intrigued by the renewed interest in nature play and frankly, a bit disenchanted by the current state of post and platform playgrounds. Having discussed these two factors extensively, our brainstorms and design sessions eventually led us to Branch Out. Launched in January 2016, Branch Out is a large play component inspired by the play that happens in trees.

    In retrospect, I think designing Branch Out was an extremely fascinating process. While the tree seemed like a good starting point, we were always very sure about not wanting to replicate it. After all, why create something that already exists? Plus, we can’t compete with the beauty of our planet’s natural landscape. Our goal, instead, with Branch Out was to draw more people to the playground and in doing so, we focused on bringing to life an inclusive play component and creating meaningful play experiences for children of all ages in an open, efficient layout.

    Designed for children ages 5-12, it has the scale to become the central hub of any playground. However, it is transparent, non-directional and open. And with play happening on multiple levels and directions, people to can imagine their own story as they play.

    Additionally, the complexity of elements and absence of an obvious play path foster physical and cognitive engagement, effective hand-eye coordination, decision making, greater individual challenge, risk management, a deeper understanding of the surrounding and the opportunity for social interaction among children.

    Our team designed Branch Out as a play component that encourages kids to embrace new challenges and play activities. It is my hope that this piece will encourage kids and adults alike to step outdoors and head to a playground.

    What other aspects of nature play would you like to rediscover on the playground?

  • How to build a playground in 10 easy steps

    playgrounddc How to build a playground in 10 easy steps

    t’s exciting learning to do something you know you’ll do again and again … like cooking a favorite meal or wakeboarding … but how often will you build a playground?  For some, it may be a regular occurrence—something that you do as part of your job.  For most others, such as members of the PTA, it’s a once in a lifetime situation that may seem exciting, yet daunting.

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