Roald Dahl was the master of imagination. It was his ability to create worlds that children love with some unbelievable ideas (snozzcumbers, Oompa Lumpas and witches to name a few) that made him so successful. Some parts of his books were scary but this only encouraged the main character, always a child, to be brave and ensure good over comes evil. The concept of trying to transport children to far off places and allow imaginations to flourish should also be used when designing playgrounds
Swings, slides and roundabouts are brilliant and should form the backbone to any playground, but it is the unique structures or those that seem the craziest that really grasp the childrens attention. Children should be encouraged to play in an enviroment that stimulates fantasy scenarios such as sailing on a pirate boat on the high seas, defending a castle from invaders or even flying through space. Not only does this make play more fun but also provides an educational tool which can bring through the next generation of creative thinkers. It provides a space were children can interact with each other and form relationships, developing physical and social skills.
Imaginative play doesn’t always have to be big themed structures either. Simple role play panels can take children from a school playground to a village centre, a treasure chest storage unit can transport them to a desert island or a hobbit hole entrance can lead to a mystical world of elves. Sometimes it’s not what the product looks like but what it can lead to- a tool that can stimulate imagination in the same way a good book does.
If you’re looking to design your new playground use your own imagination to come up with an area that children can explore. Complement traditional playground equipment with more creative solutions and watch children thrive in their environment.