Archive for the ‘PLAYGROUNDS’ Category


Recess is making a comeback, according to a recent article in Slate. For the first time in decades, all elementary school students attending Chicago Public Schools will have a 25-minute recess period planned into their day.  The article cites scientific research showing that children who get a 15-minute recess are more likely to pay attention in class the rest of the day.

After years without recess, many schools are not equipped to just open up the doors to the school yard and let the kids have at it. According to the Chicago Tribune, 98 elementary and middle schools in Chicago don’t have outdoor playgrounds.

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“The majority of existing playgrounds are still of the level asphalt type, with fixed equipment chosen from an ironmonger’s catalogue. Rarely is there grass, or trees, or flowers, or animals or any beauty. Children are increasingly condemned to live in a harsh, stark desert of hard surfacing. This antiseptic approach kills play stone dead…

It is the adventure playgrounds, where children can ‘do it themselves’, that are liberating, especially for those who live in the crowded cities and over-regulated and over-tidy housing estates. They are places where children can test themselves against new challenges in complete freedom.”

Lady Allen of Hurtwood wrote those words in her 1968 manifesto, Planning for Play. Hurtwood was an English landscape architect and one of the preeminent advocates for adventure playgrounds on both sides of the Atlantic. Finding vintage playground books can be a bit of a struggle, and the books can cost a pretty penny. But thanks to the blogger Paige Johnson, Hurtwood’s book is now available to inspire the next generation of playground designers

Johnson is a bit of a polymath; at her day job she works as a scientist  studying nano-structures. In her spare time she blogs about playground design and history at Playscapes(more…)

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Making play spaces more natural can be surprisingly complex. The Natural Learning Initiative, a design and assistance program of the College of Design, North Carolina State University, has partnered with PlayCore, a company that specializes in recreation products and programs, to create a guide to best practices that bring nature back to childrens’ playgrounds. NatureGrounds is available free on the NatureGrounds website, along with a searchable plant database. You can also get a copy by contacting PlayCore at info@playcore.com.

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Brumlebyen/Courtesy Monstrum

As kids head outdoors to enjoy the spring weather, it’s a good time to get some design inspiration from some inventive play spaces from around the world. Emily Temple at Flavorwire found 15 examples of stunning playgrounds by the likes of Isamu Noguchi, Monstrum, and BASE. The colorful, creative play spaces are worth checking out. And if you have a playground on the boards, check out LAM’s Goods column in June, where we round up play equipment that will keep kids entranced with their local playground.

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Worried about how the new ADA regulations will affect projects you’re working on? An article in LAM’s May issue breaks out 10 changes that you’ll want to know about. In the meantime, the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association has come up with a checklist that specifically looks at what’s required in terms of accessibility for playgrounds.

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