Involving Children in Design
The North Limestone Community Development Corporation is working with community partners to envision and create a new nature play environment they are calling Plant and Play. The play space will be created in Castlewood Park located in Lexington Kentucky.
When designing play environments for children it’s always a great idea to involve children in all aspects of the process including design, awareness building and fundraising.
Too many play environments are focused foremost on adult centric considerations. The tendency is to focus FIRST on:
- How much will this cost?
- How can we reduce or eliminate maintenance?
- How will we cover liability?
- Will it look pretty?
- Can we get it done by our deadline?
Often, it’s only when we get to the BOTTOM of a long list of design considerations does anyone remember to ask…
- How will our play environment support healthy child development?
- Will the children like it?
ALL of those design considerations are important. But what if we started with the last two and then backed into the top five? How we prioritize considerations drives the design process. Involving children helps us maintain focus on why we make play spaces in the first place. Children are the experts. Adults are mostly hacks.
Here are a few photos of how the Plant and Play project is involving students early in the process. Students from a 2nd grade leadership class at Arlington Elementary School, one of the user groups for the new park, will be in charge of asking their fellow students an important question…
What goes in the Nature Playground?
(Stay tuned for the answer. And the cute drawings.)