Why recreation professionals are getting creative with the next generation of fun.
Being a parent in 2018 isn’t as easy as it was 100 years ago (or even 10 years ago). Kids are glued to screens more than ever before, so entertaining them is more challenging than ever before. So how does the digital revolution impact a place fundamental to nearly everyone’s childhood, the playground? The “how” playgrounds are being built is changing, which isn’t shocking. But the “where” playgrounds are being built is perhaps even more interesting. Crowded urban areas and complicated zoning laws make this question interesting to unpack.
Great Spaces Influence Behavior
Giving parents an outlet for their kids to burn some energy is becoming a strategic decision for many places. Airports, shopping malls, libraries, and car dealerships (you heard us right, even car dealerships) are putting interactive play areas into their spaces to make their destination more family-friendly.
Fun Where You Don’t Expect It
Museums are taking this concept to an entirely different level. Incorporating playgrounds at modern museums has become a hallmark of these establishments. Their goal is to engage more than just the mind and body of the parents. Take the City Museum in St. Louis, for example. This museum is known all over the world for the creative ways kids can explore alongside their parents.
Hospitals are following suit as well. While the majority of hospital visitors have heavier things on their mind than where they are going to play next, playgrounds that have been incorporated into these facilities are receiving rave reviews from families across America.
Turning the Theory Into Reality
Parents make split-second decisions every day about where they will spend their time. Because most of them have kids in-tow 24-7, parents must decide if their to-do list for the day is kid-friendly. Will their kids be safe? Will there be things for the kids to do?
Imagine the routine of the average parent. You’re making a list of errands on a Saturday. Grocery store for your weekly pantry-stocking trip, library to return the books you’ve had for far too long, and the repair shop for a quick oil change. Most parents are adding up all the time in the car that their kids will have to endure and thinking “how are we going to wear them out before nap time?” Parents go out of their way to add a stop that has a playground where their kids can burn some energy and have fun together. For most parents, it’s not “the theory” of playgrounds in new and surprising places. It’s a “reality” that eases the struggles of juggling a busy family schedule.
The next ten years will be interesting to watch as this trend continues to develop. Where will we see playgrounds next? Grocery stores? Your local dentist? The DMV? Don’t roll your eyes too much—this is a trend that will to continue to grow and evolve. It’s why PLAYTIME is so passionate about giving schools, businesses, and families more options when it comes to recreation. PLAYTIME is wired to bring good old-fashioned fun to nearly any setting!