Proposed Playarium for Bee Cave...
Studies show that unstructured free PLAY is critical for the development of children. If we want to raise highly creative, independent, resilient and self-reliant children, science points to copious amounts of PLAY as the critical ingredient. And play is not only critical to raising well-adjusted children, it is also critical to the future of our nation because creativity and independent thinking are really important advantages in today’s global economy. Unfortunately, children are getting less and less unstructured play because their daily schedules are tightly packed with structured activities from the moment they wake up until the time their heads hit the pillow at night.
My solution to the current challenges that compete for quality playtime is a “Playarium”. A Playarium is a whimsical sculptural playground that unlocks children’s imaginations and provides opportunities for creative problem solving, musical education, and physical, social and cognitive development. Because Playariums are expressly designed to maximize these factors, they provide more developmental benefits than traditional playgrounds which (due to the liability concerns of playground equipment manufacturers) are expressly designed with one primary goal: safety. Because we all love our children, safety is obviously important. But playgrounds that are designed to maximize safety do so at the cost of helping children to develop other critical skills that are instrumental for both personal and societal well-being.
If you want to know what a Playarium looks like, imagine a large, colorful concrete tree, then add the whimsy and flair of Antoni Gaudi’s architectural style (complete with beautiful mosaics and nature-inspired forms) and your mental image of a Playarium will be almost complete. Now imagine that the tree is the nexus of three colorful, creative lands. The first land, Forest Fantasy, is a magical woodland that includes a cozy cottage, mushroom playhouses, and tightropes between over-sized flowers. The second land, Hill Country Adventure, will have a bee cave that includes a humming hive, a playful boat on a mosaic pond, and secret monkey bars behind a wooden fort. Finally, the third land, Imagination Oasis, combines a playful Dr. Seuss-like kingdom with Van Gogh’s Starry Night in a fiber-optically infused background. This land will include a magic carpet swing, and hundreds of feet of flowing balance beams. Throughout the Playarium, classical music will play, and in selected areas, classical literature such as Shakespeare, fairy tales, and poetry will be played. (For conceptual models of the Playarium, visit the Playarium image gallery).
While there are examples of unique playscapes in the world, there are very few in the United States. I want to change that and (along with the help of the Bee Cave Arts Foundation) I am trying to bring the first Playarium to life in Bee Cave. If you were a child, what would you rather play on? A typical playscape located in every park, or a Playarium? If you are a parent, what do you think would be more beneficial to your child? A run-of-the-mill playscape designed to maximize safety or a one-of-a-kind Playarium with all of the cognitive benefits for which it is designed? I believe our children deserve a creative wonderland that will provide rocket fuel for creativity and that can affect change in every child in our community as well as all those that come to visit.
I would love to chat with you about building a Playarium in your own community. To get in touch, please contact me by clicking on the envelope icon in the upper right corner. I look forward to hearing from you!