Animalish Playground

What will it be like to meet our friends again after lockdown? What if we could imagine a new playground that would encourage playful “re-connections”?

Can we learn from nature how different animals bridge gaps and build their own community connections? Let’s find out and make our communal “Animalish Playground”!

Step by step

1) DEFINE YOUR SPACE

– Where do you think it would be nice to have a new playground? Are there any parks or public spaces near your house for which you could propose something different? Maybe a clear or inhabited space that you would want to occupy? What about your school, would it be nice to have a different place to play with your friends?
– Would it be indoor or outdoor?

2) CREATE YOUR CHARACTERS AND THINK ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE

What you will need: paper and pencils; and toys, or playdough or similar (optional).

Let’s unleash your imagination… Who’s going to play in this space? You can get some of your toys to be the characters of your story and the users of your new space. Or you can draw as well as make a playdough model of them if you’d prefer!

Now try to think about what kind of “reconnection experiences” they would like to have:
– Would they like to have a place to gather and talk with friends and families? Or would they rather have spaces to explore and discover?
– Would they like it to be calm and comfortable? Or adventurous and noisy? Maybe challenging?

You can also start drawing your ideas! While you think about your characters’ needs and wishes, write down keywords and/or sketch everything that comes to your mind.

3) OBSERVE NATURE AND CHOOSE MATERIALS

What you will need: paper and pencils, camera/mobile phone camera (optional), junk material and/or materials from nature. 

DID YOU KNOW NATURE FORMS, STRUCTURES AND THEIR FUNCTIONS INSPIRE MANY ARCHITECTURAL AND DESIGN PROJECTS? TAKE A LOOK AT SOME EXAMPLES IN THE PDF ABOVE. CAN THEY REMIND YOU OF ANYTHING YOU HAVE SEEN BEFORE?

Now, if you can, walk around your garden, or a park near your house, look for some animals’ houses (or plants’ structures as well!). You can take some pictures and/or draw what you find. If you don’t have a chance to go outside, you can do an online search with your parents’ help or take a look at the pictures in the PDF too.

Try to observe carefully; looking at their shapes, materials and how they are build. 

Back at home, take a look at your drawings and/or pictures. Thinking about the space you want to design and your characters’ wishes and needs, which animal’s house do you think would be most inspirational for your project?

Once you have decided it, gather all the collected junk and materials you have at home that you think could be useful for your project. 

You can look at some tips about materials and models in the PDF too.

4)  DESIGN AND MAKE

What you will need: your notes about your playground and its features; your characters and your list of needs, demands and wishes; same junk and other materials you have collected.

You had already sketched some ideas when you were defining your space and your characters. Now that you have done some research as well, go over your first drawings and check what you want to adjust, add… it’s ok if you want to modify it entirely too!

Ask yourself again:
– Is your playground indoor or outdoor?
– How big is it? Can people go inside it or over it? Can they walk on it? Sit on it?
– Is there more than one level in there?
– Is it soft and comfortable? Hard and slippery? Stretchy and bouncy?

While you draw your project, you can also start testing your ideas with some of the materials you chose to use. Go ahead, explore and try them out! Stretch, glue, knit, model, tie, and play with them!

5) BUILD YOUR PLAYGROUND!

What you will need: all you have used so far.

Did you get any insights from exploring some ideas and materials? So just keep going, iterate and keep testing, making and (re-) creating!

It’s time for your characters to act! You can play with your characters while you build your model, so you can check scale, stability, functionality… do they fit well? Can they sit or stand up if that’s the case? Does it look comfortable? Adventurous? Challenging?

  • Please make sure the material you have gathered have no sharp edges, and be careful with scissors, glues and pointy objects!

6) PHOTOGRAPH YOUR MODEL


Once you are done and happy with your model, take a picture of it to show us! You can photograph it with your characters, if you want, so we can have a better sense of the size and scale of your project too. Check out the photography tips in the PDF above.

7) SUBMIT YOUR WORK

The competition has now finished, but still have a go at creating your own Animalish Playground and add your model to the website.

CLE | CREATIVE LEARNING EXPERIENCES

Our mission is to engage children in innovative playful learning experiences that foster inquisitive and creative thinking as well as an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving through designing and making.

Emphasizing process over product, we implement project-based learning inspired by design methods and thinking processes, while grounded on a maker-centred learning perspective. By providing cross-curriculum activities and programmes, where Natural Science, Mathematics, History and Geography come together to inform these projects, our purpose is to trigger in children a trans-disciplinary, integrated and more comprehensive understanding and engagement with the world.

https://www.cledesignprojects.com/

Show us your work

Ramirez, age 7

Serenity Teri Marsden-Barnes, age 12

Daniel Blanco Miralles, age 13

Junsei Kinkead, age 12 - Wandsworth, London
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