Could we trust a child to design a playground?

You would think the logical answer is no. But that may not be the case according to the latest research from America. Adult experts and psychologists in play have been asking kids what they think.
Most adults assume that youngsters want to use a playground to let off steam, develop coordination skills and have a good time. This is true to some extent, but when experts started to ask the questions, something else began to emerge.
It seems that children prefer doing what children have done for centuries – playing in nature. Playing in the leaves, climbing trees, looking for insects, climbing on rocks, making dens and generally letting their imagination run riot.
Significantly, the adult play experts report that children also want their playgrounds to provide a place for quiet reflection. Children like listening to the wind, and watching things grow and change. They like building and inventing things, exploring, discovering, playing in dirt, in rain, and socialising.

One size does not fit all

On face value this might seem like bad news for installers and suppliers of playground equipment. But this is not the case according to Dartford, Kent, based Playcubed. They specialise in design and install of playgrounds in schools, parks, leisure centres, residential developments and open spaces across the UK.
The company is well aware that one size does not fit all and work with schools and other customers. As a result it’s essential to design a playground that allows youngsters to use their imagination or congregate quietly with friends. It is not all about using the equipment – rolling down a hill can be fun, and that can enhance with the right kind of slide built alongside.
So it seems that a playground is not quite what we thought – at least not when seen through the eyes of a child. Consequently, companies like Playcubed are creating areas where children can use play equipment that works with the local environment and landscape.
Could it be that in the future playground design will be by the children who use them? It is not such a bizarre notion if we’re to believe the play experts in America – and why not?
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