If we don't build it, kids will come! Most playgrounds are filled with standard equipment: slides, monkey bars, swings, and a jungle gym. The stationary objects can lead to hours of fun, but don't do much to inspire creativity. David Rockwell, the architect and designer behind trendy restaurants and the Oscar's set design, is changing the way children play with a new playground set to open in New York City later this month.
The Imagination Playground looks like a work in progress with a mess of loose, blue foam blocks (all biodegradable and antimicrobial) and wheels laying around. But once a group of kids get their hands on the pieces, they work together to create their own creations. The park is staffed by trained associates who don't direct play, but ensure that the environment is safe. Through a partnership with KaBOOM!, Imagination Playgrounds might pop up in more American communities. Rockwell's "playground in a box" is filled with select pieces from the permanent NYC park to encourage sand and water play in smaller areas.
We had the opportunity to see a traveling version of the playground last weekend and witnessed a group of enthusiastic tots build a virtual water park complete with a towering waterfall, spinning wheels, and a sand pit.