Playground designs: Children’s perspectives on fun and safety — ASN Events

Playground designs: Children’s perspectives on fun and safety (14724)

Kiera Kent 1
  1. Department of Geography and Sustainable Communities, University of Wollongong, Wollongong

Playgrounds are central to community and neighbourhood planning and children’s development. Safety is often prioritised by parents in terms of playground design and it is a challenge for designers to create a safe, yet fun play spaces for children. Often, children’s perspectives are neglected in the design process and there has been a limited understanding of whether children see a relationship between fun and safety in the playground. Children’s geographers have emphasised the ‘Otherness’ of childhood from the vantage point of adulthood. These perspectives highlight the importance of exploring children’s perspectives of fun and safe playgrounds, and of children’s participation in playground planning and design processes.

This paper explores children’s perspectives of playgrounds. Twenty-three children, aged six-years-old to eight-years-old, participated in focus group discussions at an all-boys private school in Surrey, England. Children were asked about their favourite play areas, areas where they felt safe and their design ideas for fun and safe playgrounds. From the focus groups, children showed an eagerness to be involved in the design process and enjoyed talking about playgrounds as ‘their’ space. Children also talked about two key themes: their active participation when playing and designing play spaces, and how safety accommodates their fun play activities. This paper concludes by showing how these themes are relevant for children’s geographies, and provides a point of departure for research examining children’s everyday play spaces.