Playground Designers

The kids really get into building their playgrounds! This is super engaging.

I think I heard about this project from someone, but I can’t remember who or where. It’s rooted in the play-based art theory that George Szekely developed. He was among the first art educators to emphasize the importance of children’s play in art making, and he literally wrote the book on it. I’m always looking for ways to retrofit play into established art projects (here and here) because it’s such a hit, and it adds another element of play learning, too.

I asked the classes to share what equipment they loved to play on and what games they liked playing at a playground. We talked about the different types of playgrounds and parks. We talked about what we wished we had in our dream playground or park. We also talked about how designing playgrounds is a job that uses art as part of it, plus lots of math, science and engineering.

I tore off long sheets of bulletin board paper in every color and provided cups, tape, glue, yarn, and scissors. Each table worked as a team building their playgrounds.

This was a one day lesson this year, but several classes mentioned they had more ideas they wanted to add but ran out of time. Next time, I’m going to give them 2 days instead of 1.

We did this in 5th grade, 4th grade, and kindergarten. Kindergarten built playgrounds for their robots, and then we all played on each others’ playgrounds with our robots.

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