Inspired playgrounds around the world
With their rubberised paving and standard slides and climbing frames, many modern playgrounds can seem dreary. But there are many inspiring spots around the world where fear of injury and lawsuits has not obliterated childhood joy and free creative fun.
Woodland Discovery Playground, Shelby Farms Park, Memphis Set within woods, the playground is connected by a winding walkway. It features a giant net and treehouse climbing structure, and slides that carry two people side by side so that a parent can support a child going down the slide. The designers polled children in Memphis on how they want to play before building it.
Darling Quarter Playground, Sydney The giant facility boasts big slides with tunnels, water games, spider-web climbing frames and a 21-metre flying fox. The Octanet rises more than 10 metres into the air, with multiple pathways for children of different ages to reach the top.
Boadilla del Monte Playground, Madrid Located 30 minutes from Madrid, this site was the brainchild of Spanish architects Eduardo Navadijos and Csaba Tarsoly. They wanted a cool and airy place for children to play in. The result is a stunning space filled with dramatic shapes and interesting shadows that stimulate children's imagination and boost their understanding of spatial relationships.
Water playground, Tychy, Poland On the banks of the Gostynia River, the playground is filled with blasting water jets and fountain fixtures. Designed to complement an existing park, it features splash pools and LED-lights that transform the area into a wonderful water show at night.
Wallholla playground, Purmerend, the Netherlands This three-storey vertical urban play structure boasts climbing walls and sliding poles. The structure packs a lot of activity in a space only a metre or so wide. Inspired by undulating ribbons, the design encourages climbing and exploration; 30 children can climb in and out at the same time.
Woods of Net, Hakone, Japan Created by textile artist Toshiko MacAdam, the space houses a colourful netted web that children can crawl in, swing on and jump through at the Hakone Open-Air Museum. MacAdam hand-crocheted the playscape, offering an unsusual way to experience her art.
Clemyjontri Park, McClean, Virginia An innovative park that caters to children with disabilities, it is made up of four distinct areas surrounding a central carousel. Highlights include the "liberty swing" that can accommodate children in wheelchairs, and lowered monkey bars to provide easy access. Braille and sign language are integral to the 8,000 square metre site where colourful maps and mazes encourage critical thinking.