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New playgrounds put sensory exploration first with amazing results

3 years ago

Laura Celada admin
Laura Celada’s Editorial intern London, GB
Back when we were little kid, playground equipment largely consisted of a swing-set here, some teeter-totters there, a merry-go-round, a metal slide, (which was often scorching hot and unusable in the summer), some monkey bars and a see-saw if we were lucky.
Unfortunately, what was fun for us then is, apparently, a bit boring for our children. Today’s playgrounds should be interactive learning environments that allow kids to explore more freely, say some experts. A major player in the new style of playgrounds is Dan Screibman and his company Free Play. This father of two noticed that his daughters were more engaged when playing in nature or unstructured settings where they were free to explore. 
With the goal of providing an abundance of sensory experiences and giving children the freedom to play as they choose, Free Play was designed and launched in December 2013. It can transform bleak playground into dynamic and creative playscapes for kids to explore, create, discover and learn.
The interactive new concept currently comprises four modular playground pieces that are customisable and whose size and layout can be adjusted depending on needs and budget. Imagine big blue cubes of Emmental cheese. This is ‘The Maze’, a boxy structure filled with holes where kids can climb, hide or go through huge empty boxes. ‘The Ant Farm’ has suspended crawling tubes which allows children go through, over or under them. As if they were jungle plants, ‘The Weeping Willow’ is formed by a dense thicket of tall ropes, which can be swung on or brushed, or outfitted with wind chimes. And finally, ‘The stalks of the Corn Field’ (pictured above) wiggle when you touch them, and can be fitted with LED lights. 
The idea is to give kids not just a physical workout, but a cognitive one, too, and it’s for this reason that each structure can be played with really depends on the imagination and quirks of them. Free Play changes the established concept of playground by engaging children’s imagination and giving them the satisfaction of being able to change their own surroundings.

Is this will be the beginning for a new era? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
(pic: Free Play

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