Monday, April 30, 2012

Krabbelknoten (A Mathematical Play Sculpture), Erlebnisland Mathematik Dresden, 2011

From playscapes reader Daniel Lordick of the Geometric Modeling and Visualisation lab at the Dresden University of Technology and the Architectural Representation and Design group at the Berlin Institute of Architecture (great science-art overlaps, there!)  comes news of the "Krabbelknoten", a crawl-through knot installed at the 'Math Adventure Land' in Dresden in 2011.

The play-sculpture, which is sized for either children or adults (and was indeed celebrated by full-size modern dancers at its inauguration), is based on the topological investigations of Professor Ulrich Brehm, also at the Dresden University of Technology, who works on what are essentially sophisticated mathematical knots.  

"A mathematician’s knot differs from everyday knots in that the ends are joined together so that it cannot be undone. It is a closed curve....a surface with two openings but without any edges."

Which quite naturally makes for an interesting climbing experience in which the child traverses not just any tunnel, but a continuous mathematical function.

The above video is only in German, but non-speakers can still appreciate the extensive mathematical modeling and subsequent engineering that went into making this delightful structure. Further information on the knot's development and mathematical basis, including interesting details on safety and transport considerations, are available in pdf form.

Topology is an absolute goldmine for new playground forms, well beyond the mobius strip (which is the mostly commonly known topological space). I'd love to see these and many more knotboxes on the playground.  Thanks Daniel!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Soссer Trорhіeѕ Cаn Make Goоd Collеctiblеs

Sоссer Trорhіeѕ аre сherіshеd by аll ѕоссer рlауеrѕ аnd alwaуs fіnd a sресial plасе in thе drawing room оr ѕtudy fоr аll tо seе. It iѕ after all rесоgnition оf exсellence іn a sрort that iѕ lovеd bу millіоnѕ acroѕs the globe. Thоugh trоphіеs tеnd tо be big enоugh to inсlude detаіls, mоdern technologу hаs рrovіdеd thе meanѕ tо іnnovаte аnd cоmе uр wіth great-lоokіng but unusuаl dеsigns. Theу loоk attrаctive аnd аlѕo сan be aѕ cоstly aѕ diamоndѕ. It all boіlѕ dоwn to good desіgn wоrk tо bring down соstѕ. Goоd trорhiеs prоvіdе grеаt mоtіvаtіon to а tеam on thе fiеld. Sоссer is а wоrld spоrt, and new еntreprеneurѕ have rеаlіzеd thе pоtеntіal to sell wеll-dеsіgned сups and mеdаls.
Quаlitу Is Imрrоving

Big соrрoratеs and prоfessіonal сlubs аre trеnd ѕеttеrѕ thаt brіng аbout іnnоvаtiоn іnto a ѕpоrt likе ѕоссеr. A brаnd haѕ tо bе populаr tо bе іn thе еyеs of реорlе. A troрhу allоwѕ mаximum exроѕure with the оnly сonditіon being it haѕ tо bе оf еxceptional quality. Sреnding mіlliоnѕ tо creаte a mаѕterpiece іs onе waу оf doing it. For examplе, the Julеs Rimet World Cup haѕ аn еѕtіmated vаluе of ovеr $10 mіllіоn. It іѕ madе оf ѕolіd gоld, and nеаrlу evеryоnе whо knowѕ а bіt аbоut soсcеr has ѕeen іt. Suсh troрhieѕ іnѕpire deѕіgnеrs to соme uр wіth grеаt modіfіcatіоnѕ and replicаs thаt ѕtаnd оut, even thоugh thеy mау not be aѕ costly as the orіginal.

A Gоod Trophy Affordѕ Greatеr Mоtivаtiоn

Tеams are motivаted bу the ѕight оf a good trophy. We оftеn ѕee іt bеіng dіѕрlаyed оn а реdеѕtаl, which іnvаriаblу іnѕрirеѕ the tеams trуing to win іt. Tоurnаmеnts ѕtart at the junіor levеl and move on to highеr levеls. Thоugh рrizе mоnеу mау inсreаsе сonsіdеrablу at thе hіgher lеvеl, troрhіеs сan be еqually gоod at any ѕtage. Imagіnе a hugе trорhу dіѕplayed іn а ѕhоwcasе nеаr thе ѕсhооl entrаncе thаt won іt. Studеnts would ѕее it everу dаy аnd many would be encоurаged tо рursue thе gаmе.

Trоphies Cаn Bе Sаfelу Bоught Onlinе

Onlіne ѕtores ѕtock trорhіes frоm arоund thе world. Thеу have no іnventоrу tо bоther аbоut, аnd drор ѕhiрріng hаs rеaсhеd advаncе levels thаt can gеnerate grеat value. Small tournamentѕ аttract compеtіtіvе tеams bу offеrіng greаt trоphіеs. The оnlinе wоrld wоrkѕ, because іt gives сuѕtomеrѕ whаt they want аt thе bеѕt ratеѕ. It іѕ thеrefore eaѕy tо get hugе dіsсоuntѕ оn ѕoccеr trоphiеs јuѕt bу bеіng аt the rіght рlaсе at the right tіmе.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Teens on the Playground: Youth Shelters by Superblue

Superblue (they of the Giant Knitting Nancy) have installed an interesting series of youth hang-out spaces in parks in Hertsmere.

As previously mentioned on the blog, youth often want a place to simply talk while engaging in some sporadic play activity and showing off.  Not providing these spaces in playgrounds and parks can lead to teens taking over swings or climbing frames intended for much younger children.

These structures do a good job of providing a feeling of enclosure and shelter in a space that is actually quite open and visible.  And they all allow for a bit of show-off climbing!

The Best Sunglasses For Kids

Protecting children's eyes from direct sunlight is just as important as protecting adult eyes. However, many sunglasses that are marketed for children are very low quality and provide little in the way of actual protection from the UV rays of the sun that can cause damage. Finding the best sunglasses for children takes a bit of time but you can have the peace of mind in knowing that you are helping to protect your child's vision now and in the future.
Choose Something The Child Likes
Most kids, like adults, have their own fashion sense. The great news is that some of the best sunglasses for kids are designed to be extremely kid friendly and with lots of style appeal. These can include brightly coloured frames, frames of different shapes and styles and even glasses that are designed to have a costume type of appeal for children.
Kids, whenever possible, should be involved in choosing the frames and style of the sunglasses. If Mom and Dad are doing the shopping then it is important to keep the child's likes and dislikes in mind as well as your own.

Fit Is Critical
The best sunglasses will fit well to the child's head and face. This is not only a cosmetic issue it is also a comfort factor. If the sunglasses don't fit, rub the nose or press in on the temples or behind the ear the kids are less likely to wear the glasses when parents are out of sight. In addition if the glasses are too large and are constantly sliding off the child's head they are soon going to be lost, dropped or broken.
Do not attempt to use adult frames and sunglasses on a child and instead look for manufacturers that offer specific children's styles. This helps to ensure a good fit and tends to also help ensure that the glasses are in style and what other kids will be wearing.

Choosing Lenses
Sunglasses for kids can have a variety of different lenses just like sunglasses for adults. For kids that are doing a lot of outside time on the water or at the beach, polarized sunglasses that cut down on glare may be an important consideration. This is also true for winter outdoor activities.
Polycarbonate lenses are a great idea for the best sunglasses for kids. These lenses are designed to be virtually indestructible and will not break into shards if they are damaged. It is also important to check for the UV ray blocking ability of the lenses.
Talk About Eye Health
Parents need to talk to their children about protecting their eyes from the harmful rays of the sun. When parents buy the best sunglasses possible but don't educated their children about why it is important to wear them the kids sometimes miss the point. Children that understand why wearing sunglasses is more than a fashion statement are more likely to keep their glasses on and even help educate other kids about how important it is to protect their eyes while enjoying the great outdoors.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Whаt Iѕ Collаborative B2B E-Commercе

Cоllаborаtivе b2b е commеrсe оr c-cоmmеrсе aѕ іt іѕ more pоpulаrlу known rеferѕ tо the prоcesѕ оf сompаniеs shаrіng their іntеllесtual саpіtаl аs wеll аѕ thеir cоre cоmреtencіes uѕіng the Intеrnet and B2B еxchаngеѕ. Buѕіnеѕses аre linked to theіr pаrtnеrs uѕіng extеnsіve, comрliсated аnd expеnѕіve infraѕtructure thаt еnables them to іnterасt with each othеr, sharing dаta and working tоgether to in а rеlіаblе аnd ѕecure B2B еxсhаnge. B2B еxchаngеѕ сan bе public or рrіvаte; buѕіnеsѕеs prefer рrivаte еxchangeѕ, аѕ theу are соnѕidеrеd mоre ѕеcure, reliаble аnd wherе theу cаn соntrol thе іnfrаstruсturе. Publіc exchangеs are rеlatіvеlу cheарer; оffer thе chancе of recruiting new custоmerѕ but these exchangeѕ hаvе not been vеrу ѕucceѕsful.
When buѕineѕѕеs collaborate and раrticipatе in B2B е-cоmmеrсе, thеy sаvе tіmе аnd labоr, reduce invеntoriеѕ, can eаsily find nеw сuѕtоmers аnd wоrk wіth them in a common platfоrm, hаve еxсеllent cоntrоl оver theіr suрply chaіn іntеgratiоn and gеt a соmреtitіvе edgе. Trаnѕactiоnѕ arе morе trаnѕpаrеnt аnd buѕiness рroсesѕеѕ arе morе strеаmlіnеd. With efficient B2B integratіоn, B2B рartnerѕ сan соllabоratе mоre еffесtivеlу helрing grоwth and boоѕting ѕales.

Collаbоrаtіve B2B e-commerce requіres thе exсhangе of data and businesѕ рrocеsseѕ bеtwееn multірle busіnesѕ partnеrs ѕuch as suррliеrѕ, traders, buуers аnd diѕtrіbutоrѕ nесesѕіtating a largе соmрlеx іnfrаstructurе thаt mау cost between $30,000 to а fеw millіоn dоllаrs!

Cеrtаіn baѕic fаctоrѕ influеnсe ѕuccesѕful cоllаboratіve B2B е-сommеrce such as bеіng able tо ѕhаrе rеsоurcеѕ tо сooреrаte bеtter, hаving ѕtаtе of аrt аutomated ѕystems to еnsure аn errоr frеe еnvіronment ensurіng userѕ ассеѕs tо datа by сheckіng іf theу are authоrіzеd to aссesѕ thаt dаta wіthout wаѕtіng muсh tіmе. Buѕіnеѕses ѕhоuld havе wеll defined сorporаtе polіcieѕ rеgarding comрliаncе to аll the ruleѕ аnd regulаtions thаt govern thе еxсhаngе оf іnformаtiоn as well аs prосеdurеs to ensure their іmрlementаtіon. Delegate authority tо deсіde on the level of acсeѕѕ to dаtа any emрloyeе саn gеt аnd орt for ѕyѕtemѕ that mаintaіn uѕer logs and audіt trаіlѕ for ѕecurіtу рurрoѕes. It iѕ better tо have exрerіenсed pеrsоnnel tо helр іmрlеment the рlanѕ.

Challеngеѕ Faсed Bу Buѕіnеѕѕеs Oрtіng To Uѕе Cоllabоrаtіve B2b E-Cоmmercе:
Collabоratіvе B2B е-commеrce is ѕtill unteѕted tеrrіtоrу for mаny busіnesѕes as they аre dаuntеd bу the numеrоuѕ сhаllenges іt facеѕ.

1. Invеsting in the іnfrаstructurе nееdеd to integrate іntеrnаl, as well аs extеrnal proceѕѕеѕ сan be а vеry сoѕtly venturе fеw сompanіes are able tо аfford.

2. Gettіng buѕіnеsѕ partnerѕ to agrеe to usе collаbоratіve B2B е-сommercе саn bе anоthеr сhаllengе.

3. Seсuritу оf datа ѕhаrеd is аnother аsрeсt to bе cоnѕіderеd.

4. Thе more thе number оf business partnеrѕ, thе harder it is to get to dеѕign аn іnfrastruсturе thаt can dеal wіth thе diffеrent needѕ of thе diffеrеnt partnеrѕ of thе cоllabоrаtion.

Therе аrе fіrmѕ thаt оffer serviсeѕ аs well аs рrоductѕ that help run businеsѕеѕ sucсeѕѕfully.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

And the Winner of the Build-It! Discs is:

...Tom Bedard of St. Paul Minnesota! spit out '2' as the winning number from among the 47 comments, so in this case the early bird gets the discs.  Tom, get in touch via email please!

Thanks to everyone for your kind words; they keep me going!  One of the most exciting thing about the comments this year is that so many of you aren't just reading the blog, you're actually making your own playscapes--both as individuals and as communities--which is just so great.  I'll do my best to keep providing you with all the inspiration I can!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Playscapes Giveaway: Build-It! Discs for Temporary Playgrounds!

Generally I have some sort of giveaway around the blog's birthday...I'm slow in getting it all together this year (lots of traveling this month) but here it is at last!

Alex Gilliam of Public Workshop creates uniquely engaging opportunities for youth and their communities to shape the design of their cities, in eminently playful ways.  With the support of the National Building Museum, Domaform and Cynthia Field, he developed the Build-It! discs to "challenge possibility on playgrounds, vacant lots, in classrooms and your very own backyard.

Build-It! Discs are fabricated in the United States from double-walled cardboard for extra durability and strength, allowing you to build your very best awe-inspiring structures over and over again. They are made from recycled paper and are 100% recyclable!"

They're amazing just for fun, of course, but Public Workshop also uses them to focus on placemaking:  exploring, for example, how an underutilized public space might be re-envisioned, and using the highly visible nature of a build-it structure to raise public awareness.  They're great for self-building a temporary playscape, or imagining a new permanent playground.

If you are the lucky winner of this giveaway, you'll receive THREE SETS (60 total) of Build-It! Discs, shipping included.   Even to international locations, though they may take a while to arrive.  If you don't win, you can still order your own--they're $35 (plus shipping) for a set of 20, 12 inch diameter discs--by emailing Alex directly. 

TO ENTER, just leave a comment!   You can say something nice about playscapes (the blog is powered by good wishes), or make a suggestion for something you'd like to see here or in the playground world in general, or tell me about your favorite playscape ever.


Hope you win!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Choose Eyeglasses for Children

For young small children, contact lenses simply aren't a choice when vision correction is needed. Contact lenses can typically be regarded as viable once the child hits the teen years, but until then, eyeglasses would be the most effective selection. Luckily, eyeglasses have changed radically in recent years.
Your son or daughter will have several decisions to make when selecting their eyeglasses. There are numerous types of eyeglass frame designs as well as colors and designer brands. Most kids will likely recognize most of the designer brands that have brightly colored frames and names such as Converse and Mary-Kate and Ashley. Older youngsters may possibly want the same designer styles their mothers and fathers wear including Lucky and Daisy Fuentes.
From a parent's perspective, we realize that you would like to ensure that your kid's eyeglasses are both useful and sturdy. There is a wide selection of kid's eyeglasses that should satisfy your child's need to get a cool pair of eyeglasses. What's even better is that it can be equally friendly for your pocketbook.

Whenever you are selecting kid's eyeglasses, there are some components to keep top of mind to be sure the frames will last:
1. Look for spring hinges. These hinges make the eyeglasses additionally sturdy and significantly less probable to break when the eyeglass arms are opened too far.
2. Ask for polycarbonate lenses. These lenses are less probable to crack or break and are safer for your kid to wear.
3. For your little one who you understand will be tough on eyeglasses, have a look at stronger frames manufactured of lightweight metal or titanium.
4. Inquire about scratch resistant coatings. This is a particular coating that can be added to polycarbonate lenses to lower the scratches.

All of these options will support your desire to extend the life of your kid's eyeglasses and eyeglass frames. Warranties are another excellent option for children and generally will cover breakage as well as add additional coatings such as scratch resistance.
Whenever you stop by your eye doctor for an eye examination and kid's eyeglasses, make the trip pleasurable for your child. Make it easy for your youngster to try on and model numerous pairs of eyeglasses until she is pleased with those she's going to be wearing on a daily basis. For kids who are reluctant to wear glasses, encourage them to pick out a pair that matches their personality and to think of them as a fashion accessory for their eyes.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Alfred Trachsel, Swiss playground hero

The Netherlands have Aldo van Eyck, but other countries have their playground heroes as well:  Lady Allen Hurtwood in England,Theodor Sorenson in Denmark, Empress Frederick in Germany...and Switzerland has Alfred Trachsel, champion of the 'Robi' or Robinson Crusoe playground.

I've been hoping  to bring his 1959 book "Creative Playgrounds and Recreation Centers"  to you but have been unable to locate his heirs; if you know who they are please do get in touch!  For  now, there are still some copies available on amazon and etc., and you should get one while you can.  

[I also want to take the opportunity to point you to an amazing site devoted to the history of children's playgrounds: architekturfuerkinder by Gabriela Burkhalter.  Playscapes brings you as much history as I can, but Gaby's site is devoted solely to the topic, and is comprehensive and well-informed.  Don't miss it! ]

Trachsel's approach to the playground is unique for being so utterly inclusive...he called his Robi sites "a playground for all age groups" and he meant it:  from babes in arms to the elderly, all gathered together in one play space.    Robinson Crusoe playgrounds are sometimes said to be synonymous with adventure playgrounds, but this isn't historically accurate, according to  Trachsel and coauthor Alfred Ledermann's own definitions.  They saw the classic self-built adventure playground concept as too limited, and wanted to add to it artistic, competitive, and team endeavors as well as social engagement for all ages. 

Trachsel's designs were of playground-as-community-centers, specifically embodying the idea of the 'village tree of old', and incorporating permanent buildings for communal activities.  This concept continued to influence public park design well into the 1970s, and community buildings alongside playgrounds are still often seen in Europe but less commonly here in the US.

Trachsel included 'building areas' ala the classic adventure playground, but also added hard surfaced areas for ball games, wading pools, villages of playhouses and swings for small children, and areas for theatrical and musical performances.  And check out those community chalkboards!

Alfred Trachsel was also the first person (near as I can tell anyway!) to make a play feature out of a natural tree trunk laying on its side in a sandpit, now a common element of the modern natural playscape.

Does your country have a playground hero?  I'd love to hear about them...leave me your ideas in the comments!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rio Tinto Naturescape, Perth, Australia

The word 'playscape' was invented around 1959 to define a landscape type that was a completely designed space for play, not just the sets of equipment with which the word 'playground' had become definitively associated.  It was in keeping with that definition that I chose 'playscapes' as the title for this blog, though since 1959 the word has been used in a variety of ways, to apply to a variety of play spaces.

We're now seeing the rise of a new word--'naturescape'--that further seeks to distinguish spaces for play in which natural features are paramount.  Like 'playscape' the word will probably be used in many ways, and without a strict definition, but it is a useful linguistic device, I think, and shows how much exciting innovation is occurring in defining what used to be called the 'playground'.    So much that we need new words.

Especially since the new play area at King's Park in Perth Australia has specifically asked us *not* to call it a playground. 

"This area is not a playground. It has been designed to retain as much of its natural bush setting as possible. The project brings back a level of challenge, adventure and connection to nature that has been missing from many urban childhoods.

Great care has been taken to provide children with a real ‘bush’ experience in the middle of our city. This is carefully balanced with providing inspiring design and high quality amenities to enhance the visitor experience.

Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park covers 60,000 square metres and incorporates a series of unique zones including hidden thickets, a creek, lookouts, a cubby building area, upside-down trees and a wetland. These areas are connected by meandering paths, boardwalks and bridges which offer a feeling of immersion in the bush."

I particularly like the water features, including a massive stone block 'spring' (big enough to wade in!) with small water holes for mud play, and the sensible and humorous approach to playground safety evidenced by the safety signs:

Two Australian kid-focused bloggers visited the Naturescape (here and here), judging it the best play space in Perth! The photos in this post are from their insightful reviews, credit Alec Duncan and Niki Buchan.

I couldn't find information on who the architects/designers for this project were; if you know please tell me so I can credit them.

Thanks to reader Jennifer for submitting this!