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-   -   Help me build an awesome playground! (http://www.mothering.com/forum/439-unschooling/1374612-help-me-build-awesome-playground.html)

yaM yaM 02-14-2013 09:41 AM

I'm cross-posting this thread to places I think may be relevant. My family was an Unschooling family for twelve years. Though both of my children choose to go to school outside the home now that they're older, I still consider their choices to be perfectly self-directed since it is 100% their prerogative. I, myself, am still very much an Unschooler (can't get enough!) and remember all the years of entire days that we used to spend at parks around our city playing with other Unschooling friends. I believe that Unschoolers may have some especially useful advice for me with regard to building the ideal playground since they often spend a lot of time on playgrounds and also because they're such experts at following their own hearts. ;)

 

 

 

Our home sits in front of a city park, which is one of the reasons I chose this house.  It has been a peaceful refuge of nature to escape to and I find myself falling more and more in love with it as the years pass.  Only a few months after we moved in, some kids were playing with fire one day at the park which resulted in a large fire that destroyed the very large playground structure.  A couple of trees burned, as well.  It was a devastating loss for our neighborhood.


I have spent the past two and a half years working with our neighborhood association and countless local and national community resources as well as researching a diverse spectrum of playground styles in an effort to get educated, pool resources and rebuild the play structure.  Now, the exciting time is finally here!  We have generous funding and a team of experts ready to move forward quickly. And thank goodness I’ve been doing my research because I have the honor of representing the neighborhood in this project.

In talking with my own and other local children and contemplating the design of the playground, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really want to focus on quality over quantity.  We have the option to either put in one of those massive contraptions with all the bells and whistles OR to do separate independent pieces that are more simplified.  The main pieces that I'm hearing the most demand for are swings, monkey bars, and some sort of spinning contraption.

If we go with the separate pieces, the ‘fall zone’ for each piece must be much larger in diameter than the overlapping fall zones that are permitted in the design of combination structures.  This will result in fewer pieces of equipment to play on due to the space constraints.  In contemplating all of the options, however, I keep thinking that we’d get more use out of the equipment that kids say they enjoy the most instead of a more traditional structure.  The kids often point out to me that many playgrounds they’ve played at have equipment that looks really cool but in which they ultimately determine the play value isn’t as appealing in use as it is to look at.  These are mostly bigger kids who have a good amount of playground experience under their belt by now.  

What do you think?  What is your idea of the perfect playground?  If you have some especially fun equipment in your neck of the woods, please share whatever details you can on it.

These pieces are going to, hopefully, be in use for many generations to come.  I really want to be sure the neighborhood will get the most out of whatever is built.



Here are a few pieces that we're considering so far:

Arch Swingset:  http://www.xccentrecreation.com/products/independent-swings

F-4 spinner:  http://www.xccentrecreation.com/products/independent-motion

Rock N' Rider:  http://www.xccentrecreation.com/products/independent-motion

Galaxy spinner:  http://crs4rec.com/crs-products/crs-fun-on-land/play-equipment/xccent-play/independent-play/

Atom climber:  http://www.xccentrecreation.com/products/independent-climbers#Atom

Ion X-Wave 2:  http://www.xccentrecreation.com/products/independent-x-wave

 

 

 

 

 

Please share your thoughts. And thank you!!




 


nstewart 02-14-2013 09:56 AM

Just wanted to say "congratulations" on your efforts and having your hopes realized of building a new playground.

 

As a mom of a younger child (30 months) I would just say, please keep the little ones in mind!!

 

School yards often don't have playground equipment geared to small kids (since school aged kids are bigger), and this just leaves community playgrounds.  I've been dissapointed recently to go to a few new city playgrounds that are geared to children 6 and over and really don't have any equipment suitable/safe for children around 4 years of age or under.  They are really neat, open-ended playgrounds, but my DS can't really play there safely except to go on the slide.


yaM yaM 02-14-2013 11:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by nstewart View Post

Just wanted to say "congratulations" on your efforts and having your hopes realized of building a new playground.

 

As a mom of a younger child (30 months) I would just say, please keep the little ones in mind!!

 

School yards often don't have playground equipment geared to small kids (since school aged kids are bigger), and this just leaves community playgrounds.  I've been dissapointed recently to go to a few new city playgrounds that are geared to children 6 and over and really don't have any equipment suitable/safe for children around 4 years of age or under.  They are really neat, open-ended playgrounds, but my DS can't really play there safely except to go on the slide.

 

 



Thank you very much and absolutely!  The park already has a toddler swing set that was spared in the fire because it's a bit separated from where the play structure was.  Also, there is another park very close by that has lots of equipment designed for very young children, so we're focusing predominantly on equipment that can accommodate older children at this park, but some of these pieces (linked in my post above) are great options for all ages.  That's one of the things I love about them.


yaM yaM 02-14-2013 07:27 PM

Oh, and we're also looking at the two pieces in the lower right corner of pages 148-149  at this link:  http://content.yudu.com/Library/A2121i/2013XccentPlayCatalo/resources/index.htm?referrerUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.xccentrecreation.com%2Fresources%2Fvirtual-catalog

 

 

(these are for smaller children). 


Tjej 02-23-2013 10:26 AM

I've been a part of something like this in the past.

 

FWIW, a digger has been extremely popular at our local park - we'd do well to have two of them.  Also, a water source, although this is a bone of contention - some families LOVE it for the possibilities and creative play (and cooling in the summer) and some HATE it because it is messy.

 

One of the links you gave crashed my browser, so forgive me for not trying again, but we have found swings to be important (10 ft ones are much better than the shorter ones).  Also, a lot of people don't think a playground is a playground without a slide.  The X wave thing looks really cool.

 

We have cup shaped spinners in our park.  They are well used and liked.  Admittedly, I was pulling for the Y or saddle shaped ones, because small children get stuck in the round cups and they get hurt.  I have seen it happen at least half the times I am at a park with the cup shaped ones - some 3 year old is in perpetual spinning motion and can't get out and is screaming for help, or some 2 year old accidentally flips themselves out on their head because they can't get it to stop.  BUT, the cup shaped ones are what is prevalent all across our community (I'm quite sure the city likes them and their general supplier of them), and I think kids do learn the painful lesson without too much damage.  I just find the other shaped ones just as fun and less trouble for parents of younger kids.

 

I don't know how flexible your design team is, but it can be nice to make features dual use - benches that are safe for climbing and playing on, as well as parents sitting...  We tended toward a "natural playscape" goal for our playground and have been really pleased with it and had mostly positive feedback.

 

Good Luck.  Lots of fun!


yaM yaM 02-25-2013 11:09 AM

Excellent points and ideas, Tjej, thank you!!!  

 

Taking notes . . . .


yaM yaM 02-28-2013 08:27 AM

Things are progressing very quickly and I want to share the updated list of the equipment that we're getting.  Please continue sharing your feedback!  smile.gif

 

 

 

  1. Swing Set and ADA Swing :: http://www.xccentrecreation.com/products/independent-swings
  2. F-4 Spinner :: http://www.xccentrecreation.com/products/independent-motion#F-4   -and-   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oX-6LWnKHkU 
  3. Stand-Alone Reactor Wheel :: http://www.xccentrecreation.com/products/classix-overhead-motion#Reactor   -and-   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeL-IA0w4Jg 
  4. Atom Climber :: http://www.xccentrecreation.com/products/independent-climbers#Atom 
  5. Balance Beam (traditional standard straight-line style) 
  6. Horizontal Ladder (traditional standard monkey bars) 
  7. Axis Spinner (link below)
  8. Periwinkle (teeter totter) (link below)

 

 

 

The last two items were invented so recently that there are hardly any photos and no videos available, but you can see one small photo of each on the Xccent Play Company's virtual catalog at the following links:

 

 

 

At the above links, please run a search for:

Axis Spinner :: item 'D' on page 149 (product # 48751)

Periwinkle (teeter totter) :: item 'C' on page 138 (product # 41430)



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