More than any playground in recent memory, the Imagination Playground has inspired an outburst of excitement. It’s a hit with the hip parents who take their kids to Dan Zanesconcerts, and is just as crowded as one. But it also represents something much more mundane: the triumph of loose parts. After a century of creating playgrounds for children, of drilling swing sets and plastic forts into the ground, we have come back to children creating their own playgrounds. Loose parts—sand, water, blocks—are having a moment.
A lot of people agree that playgrounds are now too boring, and for years there’s been talk about how we should make them more challenging, more risky. But so far, that talk hasn’t turned into more interesting playgrounds. The most adventurous playgrounds tend to be singular projects, often built through fundraising, for the rich. (A genuine exception is this amazing project in Philadelphia.) “People talk about making playgrounds more risky,” says Susan Solomon, the author of American Playgrounds, which charts their demise. “But there’s this sense that if you talk about it, that’s enough. There’s this very real reluctance to get involved in anything that might at least potentially cause an injury.”
Rockwell’s playground is still an adventure playground—a construction site with all the splintery edges sanded down. It’s what an adventure playground looks like in a risk-averse culture. And it promotes the kind of play we think children should be doing now: not with just their bodies, but with their minds. The Imagination Playground is a much more cognitive vision of the playground. No one would confuse it with a jungle gym.
Read the full article at : http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2013/01/loose_parts_are_having_a_moment_putting_the_play_back_in_playgrounds_with.html