By Neve Spicer Play involves imagination, creativity, and innovation. For young people, it is both fun and essential. They need play in order to flex, stretch, and grow their muscles; not only their physical ones, but also the emotional, cognitive, and imaginative muscles of their minds. But here’s the thing… We are seeing a global […]
Last month, we launched the PlayLab Fellowship, a unique opportunity for students and recent graduates to gain experience in the playground field and make a meaningful contribution to an open source movement that is spreading access to play to hundreds of thousands of children across the globe. We went on the hunt for talented, innovative, self-starting, think-outside-the-box-ers who were passionate about play and excited to build resources to better serve the Playground Ideas community. The number of qualified and creative individuals we found blew us away. We sifted through portfolios and applications from around the world of pioneering young professionals working in their own spheres to ensure all children can exercise their right to play. Today we're excited to introduce our first cadre of PlayLab Fellows.
Brian Luce: All-Access Playground Designer/Writer
Brian is a native of New York and a recent graduate from Syracuse University with a Bachelors in Architecture. While at Syracuse, he had the opportunity to work on designing and building a wheelchair accessible treehouse and outdoor classroom a local elementary school. He also co-founded and served as the Project Manager of a student group chapter of Freedom by Design, a national organization whose goal is to create a more dignified life for people with a disability.
During his time with Playground Ideas, Brian will be reseaching best-practices in all-access design and creating open-source resources for the Playground Ideas community that will guide community builders in designing and building play spaces that are inclusive to all, regardless of disability. From Brian, "I am interested in the way that good design can be subtle in its attempt to include everyone. Playgrounds that shout “handicapped” can be off putting for everyone and designing solutions that are inclusive without giving up their spirit is a goal that every playground should shoot for."
Marty Weis: Monitoring and Evaluation/Storyteller
Marty is a Ph.D. Candidate in English Literature at the University of California, Davis, where he is also an Associate Instructor of writing courses. His dissertation, which he is currently finishing, focuses on video games and the role that they play in shaping our understanding of the political structures around us. Marty told us he feels fortunate to have turned his passion for play into an academic career, saying, "because play is an imaginative act in which the point is to do something different and fun, we can think of ways to change this world that would not be thinkable to us without play. In this sense, play is an educational tool that is valuable precisely because it can help us figure out how to master and even change the rules of the real world.
During his fellowship, Marty will be will be uncovering and communicating some of the best stories from our community. Over the next few months he'll be interviewing past build leaders from around the world and currating a collection of stories and photos of the playgrounds they created. If you're a community build leader with a project profile on our site, don't be surprised if you hear from Marty in the coming weeks!
Welcome on board, Brian and Marty! We're thrilled to have you and excited to see the impact you make in expanding access to play for children around the world.
The "Scorpion" is a great structure to build if you have access to lots of tires. It makes for a fun climbing element as well as a visually impressive piece on the playground.
Follow the link to get the step-by-step instructions for building your own "Scorpian.” (Must create user account to see full instructions.) Got an idea for a playground element? Join our community and submit your designs here.
This simple climber creates both a high challenge for younger children and tucked away spaces to retreat into. Supplement the area by adding fabric children can use to drape between the bars and create "dens."
Follow the link to get the step-by-step instructions for building your own "Triangular Climber.” (Must create user account to see full instructions.) Got an idea for a playground element? Join our community and submit your designs here.
This tire climbing element is low to the ground – a great choice for toddlers or young nursery children. They’ll love testing their abilities climbing on top, or climbing inside for a cozy view of the playground action.
Follow the link to get the step-by-step instructions for building your own "Tent Climber.” (Must create user account to see full instructions.) Got an idea for a playground element? Join our community and submit your designs here.