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PLAYGROUND WITH AN IMAGINATION By Lee Elam and leo Rosenhouse TPHERE is 2 gredual revolution taking lace in playground design and equ~ ides, teeter tories and bare ave being Teplaced with anew concept in play equips insu that stimulates a chil’ interest te Guires “physical accomplishment. and reativereat and the use of his imagination “Play ta not a luxury but s necessity? ‘explains William Penn Mott, Jr. president of the Amerison Institute of Bask eee {ron Siow rch bedtgreund suppers tives, and superintendent of the Park De- ertment in Oakland, Calif, “It is some- thing child must have if he isto: grow ‘up properly ’fe know that play is an Instinctive thing in a child, but this does not mean Mere need be np soeaal provision for ur we recognize’ that ploy-area equip ment today needs revolutionizing so that itis redicelly diferent in is environment from anything that the average child ‘encounters tn his customary day {slay existence” "Wren the Oakland Park Depart- spant leq hone of all dap fated and dangerous play equlp- ment on ita playgrounds and orks, it reploced outmoded toys End spparatus with new safe Sculptured play equipment, colore fully designed toys and functional play areas. ‘One of the most unusual and ‘oye fea massive “fun free” in Lakeside. Parke, on the hore of Lake Merrit, so-called because boys and tls 'can elim in. over, afound and through Ie ‘The fin tee ees designed to make Ld POPULAR MECHANICS the small fry happy by the ingenious device of imaginary visualteation, ‘The fantasticlooking “toy” is 30 feet long, 12 feet wide and several fect in height. It ie made of plastic-laminsted glass cloth on & metablsth’ frame, ‘The color iss pleatant lemon yellow. ‘Young minds make great things out of this creative piece. It hes hand and foot holds for climbing, a limb shaped like a glant fish tail, sunnels for crawling, areas that lool Ike the wings of an airplane and smooth surfaces that become slides. One day a youngster may pretend the fun tee is ship from outer space, and the next, 4 wild animal Tt can become a cave, a moun- tain, an ocean Iiner, railroad train, whale ot & thotsand and one other things whipped up in youthful imagination. Tn this Lakeside Park play area, called the ‘Kiwanis Kiddie Korner because the Lake Mer~ itt Siwwanis Club donated funds for Its con- Struction, the usuel stralght geometrical pattern of the oblong or square playground was dis- ‘carded and replaced by free-flowing curves “Children don't play in a straight line," Mott explained. “They tend to run in helterekelter pattern. For that reason, We've made the Kiddie Korner an informal play area” Carving sandboxes are set on various levels A coral-and-black ramplike walle, arching over the sandboxes to give chil dren a pee to run, is terminated at one fend bya drinking fountain and at the other by a circular pylon. ‘Swings hang frem an arch that reminds AUGUST 1956 us all of the nearby San Franciseo Bay Bridge, The end posts are set away from the swings for safety. Two of the swings aro in the shape of sea horses, made of yminated glass cloth set over @ Designed for Safety ‘Tho slide ie designed for safety and eim- pliety It'is made entirely of two-inch pe, with the exception of the steps The Hips are welded together and, to frm the S86 oon ore arena fea eshte ‘mounts ahd hand bars are a continuation fl pipe from the sliding surtace, a design {hat gives ‘moscimam strength and makes Ievistually Indestrucuble by normal usa ‘All sharp edges ae elieinated iMormally shaped play seulptute con icclaminated ghats lod llow and sky-blue color st ative play, The sculpture resembles a ziant ‘urled leaf and because of ts smooth con- Struetion, can be used as a slide or can be climbed over without tearing clothing or skin, ‘All these play units are surrounded by tanbark to. take ‘the shock of falls. and ‘tumbles and to provent ckinned kes and ‘The Peralta Playground is 2 joyland for ‘kids right in the heart of Oakland. It fea ures @ elreos and eammival atmosphere, portion of the grounds being given over to lnc play area and tho foraindor 2 carnival of movement. ‘The playground was conceived by Mott when he visited a carnival on a vacant lot ‘where the park i now located. He’ come vray depressed after recing girls and boys Fiding. shoddy rous ‘oy and pla) equipment. Also, he thought the carnival looked like a breeding ground for mischiof fend juvenile delinquency. Ropes Are Lions’ Tails Now, the sll fry who visit the circus pay aes igo a teeoetoer toad that lances onthe back of “fat, the Regus Glover; Sip down slide formed the Sacks ofthe “iittnish ‘Pigers' ait ins ing heme ropes are the tals of feo "Eola! tone" sandbow dualeates the sang. ‘The walls surrounding the cies aren remind the tla ofthe legen ot Hames Dumpty for thy are gally decorated ith fnirsand figures. Other sections af he all sleee te cious stimomphere BY pl AUGUST 1956 turing sey animals. On top of the colorful ‘wall efous pennants and streamors hip Inthe breeze. The wall serves mx a pro teetion for an atea designoted as a pa Senter for the small fry who thrill to the sreus alimosphere. All of the pasty ure riture ig of Lillipution siz to aecommedate the idles at thet fun fost. “Every youngster lives. In a falryland and he should have a play area to match his imagination,” reasons Bf. Mott. “We adults took at things differently fom youngsters, and the play areas growne ups visualize for children are usually deab tings that depress and disturb kide. We fendeavor to make them s0 they will be right, exeiting and invigorating adven- lures. By watching the ‘crestiveness of small fry, we are able to sive them toys dnd equipment whieh channel thet bounds less energy along favorable lines. Piers Form Jungle Gym. "1 was such om approach that brought us to placing in the circus area 2 jungle ‘gym built 19 rosemble the plers that Jut ‘Sut from Oakland's shoreline, Children, we found, need something massive they ‘ean climb'in and over, Uke this grouping of Smoath=painted conerete ‘pipe and wood pilings’ ‘The. movement area of Peralta Play- ground features a dide ranch where chi Sreneon nde on live pony esny-£0- round, a horse-drawn Buggy, and an Fonest-lovgoodness covered wagon pulled by lively but gentle horses, "Thore isa lake with a paddle-whee! boat jani cow hard are bald he cndlae by stay bat nt de vonch fetes covered like the old Miscissippi River steamboats. ‘ The child toa mechan jel mer ie on beasti= fully carved horses in trotting or gallop position. ‘Burrounding this io a raleood track on which rung the Oskland Daylight, copied tfler the Southern Pacific's San Joaguin Daylight, made to one-quarter scale, "The teerestionsl revolution in Oskland us boot te one child, o cave fo enather or pute Tot, the Clow gats ne test 0 alate ddan ‘seine tein Toie! place auras he shed" has created op much attention, the National Recreation Congress andthe “American Institute of Park Executives have asked for special reports and detailed plans on the feign and features of the playgrounds ontiand itnone Silene boeasne blend creative ingenuity ‘with thelr chil dren's Iaughter and important recreational needs ork

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