Looking back, the first memory of play that comes to my mind is after school play with neighborhood children.  After what seemed like a long day of school, which was also filled with a very active recesses period, I could not wait to go home, take off my uniform, have a snack and complete my homework, so I can run out to meet my friends for an evening filled with adventure.

One thing that never occurred to me during my childhood was how unrestricted my play was.  So long as I did not hurt anyone, respected my friends’ house if I went, by not asking for food, and returned home with all my limbs, all was well.  Climbing trees, sledding down a dirt hill, swinging on uneven swings, running endlessly, mixing dirt and even taunting grazing cows when at my grandmothers was all acceptable play.  The rules of play remained the same whether at the city or rural area.

I recall being very creative.  Though we could afford toys, the interest of being out doors and the encouragement from our parents allowed us to neglect indoor toys for the times when we really needed them, rainy days or days when we’re grounded, which respectively meant no joining friends outside.  Outdoors we used papers and plastic bags to make balls, plastic can tops to make wheels for box cars, old clothes to make clothes for dolls, and mixed mud to mold.

Those days were surely memorable.  It is how come that I cannot seem to adjust to this country’s safe play and it’s over protective nature.  Nonetheless, I understand the nature of our parents, the uprising dangers that the children have become susceptible to.

Importance of Maintaining Dialog:

Playscapes, in-doors or out-doors are everywhere, but it is not often we stop and wonder how they arrived there and who designed them.  In the following paragraphs, I will outline some of the important aspects, according to Michael Laris, that should be put into consideration when deciding to design for play.  When designing, it is important first to put inconsideration the cultural concepts of the children whom are being designed for, and to also recognize that the final structure is merely a partial aspect of the playground environment.  The editor of Laris article informs the reader that Laris considers himself in the middle of a creation process, which simply implies that he considers the past and the future as part of his framework.  I think this is very wise as one can take great ideas from the past and attempt to weave them with those that we foresee dominating the future.

3 Categories of the work of a designer:


Design, as described in the article, is imagining, inventing, drawing and forming things that are of use.  One must put into considering all aspects of the user during each of the mentioned step.  This includes knowing the specific functions that will serve the user.  Laris mentions that the designer’s tasks are to find out why things work well and optimize from those findings.  To do so, designers must consider factors such as play value, methods, accessibility and product life span.  These aspects are definitely important because safety especially is the key and making products that have a long life span is cost effective.  One of the most important things Laris mentioned was that designers are not the inventors, they are the translators, which makes the children the inventors.  The designer’s job, according to the article, is to find out why things work well and try to use those finding to make the design function at its best and to maybe take those findings and apply them to other inventions.



The break-through process is one that many of us wish we had often and could control.  There are times when days after days of thought process seem to waste away with no notable accomplishment, until that fateful time when everything clicks.  This also happens with inventors days, weeks and sometimes months after the initial idea.  It is also pointed out that break-through of functional ideas are deeply connected and conceived via connection with people, places, time and experiences.  This is very relevant to us because as we visit sites, discuss topics and spend time reviewing articles, the innovation process is nurtured.



Factors affecting the design development process:

Various factors, as one can imagine, affect the designing process and dictate routes to take with each design.  Safety as mentioned previously is one of the biggest components that affect designing process.  Safety codes are standards that intended to prevent unforeseen risks and hazardous situation.  (Laris)  Though safety codes are important, and many designers recognize their importance, conflict has emerged because as new concepts develop, the safety codes usually remain the same.  It must be difficult for the inventors to work around old codes with new concepts.

Accessibility, the standard that seeks to ensure equal access for all users, dictates features such as ramps, paths, and elevated accessibility for children use to navigate the equipment. This gives the designer a tough challenge because some ramps and higher group access can also give children access to heights that they are not ready for, which poses a safety risk.  Other aspects that are considered are manufacturing, sales and installation.  These aspects are important because as with any device, cost is also a big thing to think about.  The product must be within a reasonable cost both for manufacturing and distributing to various places.  Though price is also a big factor of influence, the product does have to have at least a 10-year plus life in any given climate.

It was also clear to see that designers have numerous things to consider during their designing process.  One of the biggest ideas that are inevitable is that designing is not a solo project.  Discussions with colleagues, time researching other product’s pros and cons, as well as observing your intended clients are all parts of the path to great design.

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