Playgrounds have evolved by leaps and bounds over the past few decades. With safety standards in check, manufacturers are placing more emphasis on creating an innovative experience for children and parents alike. Playgrounds are becoming more diverse, more motivated to expand imaginations and more adaptive to the natural landscape around them.
The following excerpt from an International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) feature article in the July issue of Recreation Management Magazine discusses the latest trends in playground design.
“As playgrounds look to attract and sustain the interest of screen-obsessed kids, they’re differentiating today’s designs from those of yesteryear with a focus on natural play, multigenerational appeal, custom theming, playable art and more elements that require decision-making and skill development. In the process, playground manufacturers are seeking to raise the bar in creating destination play spaces and providing experiences that encourage lasting engagement for both children and adults.
‘We’re finally getting to the maturity level of the industry to see designers and companies starting to push the boundaries to get beyond what some have labeled the dumbed-down playground,’ said Tom Norquist, senior vice president for a playground manufacturer bases in Fort Payne, Ala., and a board director for the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA). ‘There’s a trend toward pushing the boundaries in terms of design innovation and experience that I would say most of the manufacturers and professional consultants are heavily involved with right now.’”
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Manufacturers are shifting their focus to more nature-inspired play by integrating topography into the playground, as well as synthetic pieces that imitate natural elements.
Photo courtesy of Landscape Structures Inc.