This article briefly looks at some amazing playground equipment, the companies that design and build it and why children and adults alike, love them so much.
This play equipment is designed by a Danish based company called Monstrum. Their pieces are truly an eclectic assortment of original designs, all with their core belief running through them:
• Ability Challenges
• Visual Design
In line with our own thinking at Playground Surfaces, the foremost demand of a playground is to offer children (of all ages) SAFE but varied motor skill challenges. From our experience the most successful playgrounds provide these challenges in clearly defined age ranges. Our absolute favourite playgrounds provide these age related challenges in different zones in the same area (Harrogate Valley Gardens Play Area is a great example of this).
These types of playground allow children to socialise across a broad age range. They also allow younger children to watch and learn from older children, which is an important element of the development process. In practice these ‘all age range’ play areas also provide the ideal environment for parents to allow their children, no matter how old they are, to mix and learn through the act of playing.
Also concurring with our opinion, but somewhat lacking in some modern play equipment, there should be an element of visual design. This is something that is clearly visible in Monstrums play equipment from their 18m blue whale to their sinking ship and lighthouse (and everything in between) there is huge emphasis on design. This helps stimulate endless, imaginative play amongst users as well as offering aesthetic appeal for both users and passersby alike.
As with every aspect of parenting, safety is of huge importance. However this safety has to be managed carefully in order not to ‘stifle’ a childs development. This is clearly an applicable ethos in playgrounds. Children have to be allowed to take risk and understand that their actions have consequences and in some cases, painful ones. In UK playgrounds this risk needs to be managed in accordance with BS/EN 1176/77 regulations and the following excerpt sums up how it should be implemented:
“....exposure to some degree of risk may be of benefit because it satisfies a basic human need and gives children the chance to learn about risk and consequences in a controlled environment”.
This playground safety can be easily managed with the use of carefully designed equipment and adequate playground surfaces. In many cases the surfacing can compliment and even add to the experience/activity that the equipment itself offers. A great example of this can be seen below in another one of Monstrums fantastic playgrounds.