Shapes at Play
Who says outdoor play and learning have to be mutually exclusive? As a culture, we tend to compartmentalize play and learning (recess vs. classroom).
The San Francisco Exploratorium has taken the concept of blending play and learning one step further by funding geometrically shaped climbers at museum playgrounds, school and city playgrounds. Kids are learning about geometry and spatial relationships, while playing and exercising at these sites.
Featured in the Exploratorium’s new playgrounds is Landscape Structures “Eclipse” Net Climber and custom Playground Geometry sign. The sign discusses in English and Spanish the geometric shapes found in the climber and encourages kids to look for shapes as they play. The photos here show: the ScienceWorks Museum in Ashland, OR and the newly opened Balboa Park Playground in San Francisco.
For more on the importance of unstructured play in the development of kids, see the article, Learning & Play by Rosie Parks, 2009 winner of the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Childhood Development (CAREER) whose recent research study concludes that “play supports learning in ways unstructured tasks cannot”.