Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Important Advice For Parents Shopping For Kids' School Shoes

Choosing kids school shoes can be a battleground. Often when shopping for the necessary items, children will push for the most expensive, trendier shoes that the Headteacher simply won't allow and parents will try to gently persuade them to favour the more reasonably priced, durable and sensibly styled option. This is because we know that if we buy them the trendy ones, we'll be buying them another pair in a month or so when they've gone out of fashion!

Making sure that children's school shoes are well fitted is very important. A lot of people don't realise it but the bones in the foot don't fully develop until the child reaches 18 years of age. Children's feet are made up mainly of cartilage until this point and so ill-fitting shoes can cause a lot of severe foot health problems in adulthood, if not sorted out early on with simple foot measurements carried out correctly and well made shoes.

There are a lot of shoes nowadays that simply don't support a child's foot and this is something to be mindful of when shopping for your little boy or girl's school shoes. The first of these would be the ballet style pumps which are in fashion at the moment and little girls wanting to be grown up like their mummies are frequently spotted wearing the shoes. But these shoes should be left to their mummies, as slip on shoes can be particularly dangerous when running around the playground and they also offer no support or shock absorption.
When buying boys school shoes, don't let him bend you round his little finger by saying that trainers are comfortable and if bought if black, or a colour accepted by the school, are permissible. Although they are laced up shoes, which are a lot better for children's feet as they offer support, they aren't suitable for everyday wear as they are especially designed for participating in sports.

Although it doesn't seem possible at times, it is completely achievable to purchase a pair of kids' school shoes that pleases both parent and child alike. Your child can have the cool, trendy shoes they want while you ensure that their foot health is looked after and they won't need another pair within the month because their existing ones have fallen apart! Advice to parents is the most important thing about children's school shoes should be that to make sure shoes are fitted properly and allow enough room for toes to move about freely and also to allow for growth. The outer area of the shoe should be firm and supportive yet not too tight.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4432610

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Country in the City at the Madison Children's Museum, Madison WI USA


Talk about your green roofs...thanks to reader Carol for submitting the rooftop garden playscape of the Madison Children's Museum in Madison Wisconsin.  With nary a traditional play structure in sight, Kubala Washatko Architects nonetheless created an eminently playable space with so much scope for exploration...and even chickens! This is a great example of how a space we might more traditionally consider a garden can be tweeked to become a playscape just by allowing say, the walls to be climb-able and the rocks to be step-able; the gazebo to be hide-able and the paths to be chase-able. Beautifully done.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wooden Playscapes by Atelier de Launay

Since 1971, Atelier de Launay have been creating extraordinary sculptural playscapes, mostly of wood, mostly in France.

"Creating a playground is not about placing prefabricated pieces. 
The planning of a playground should form a link between the people and the space. 
Designs come from specific histories and memories of people.   
Each site is given a special answer and a new story.   

To shelter, to lie down, to appear, to swing, to snuggle, to hide, to climb, to crawl, to cross a bridge, to discover, to fall, to get lost, to find, to go down, to go for a walk, to go through a tunnel, to go up, to hang from, to jump, to imagine stories, to make noise, to move, to play games, to perch, to roll, to run, to slide, to stride, to touch, to spin, to turn upside down, to watch, to step, to meet… 

These playgrounds go beyond typical play functions to awaken the active imaginations of all users, from children and teenagers to adults and the elderly.."

Too often when we think of using wood on the playground, we think simply of boards; surely the least interesting expression of what used to be a tree.   The other extreme is to refuse to alter the tree's 'treeness' at all, utilizing only stumps or rough trunk sections. Atelier de Launay celebrates all the possibilities of wood as a medium for playscapes, from climbing boards to realistic animals to Henry Moore-esque abstractions.  And their ideas about honoring site history and memory are ambitious; referencing such things as the the library of Rousseau and four of the artistic studies of Leonardo:  architecture, botany, anatomy, and drape.

Playgrounds are so strongly about the physical that intellectual pursuits don't naturally spring to mind as a design focus.  But I'm fascinated by the sophistication this 'layer of the mind' adds to the playspace, and thinking about how a child might gradually come to realize that the forms on which they are clambering were studied, long ago, by Leonardo;  or how grown-ups might consider the books Rousseau had in his library while their children play.  How might you add an intellectual layer to your playscape?

[Many thanks to Paris-based landscape architects sensomoto for introducing me to Atelier de Launay!]