I love the idea of play being everywhere, not just at the playground. When I was a kid (oh, no, did I really say that?) we would play everywhere. The door would slam behind us on a beautiful summer morning and Mom would call out, "Be home in time for dinner!" Now, you have to plan to go out to play, especially to play in nature. Parents either go with the kids to find "real" nature or a place is created and the outing is planned.
The people at KaBOOM! have mounted an exciting challenge called, fittingly, the Play Everywhere Challenge. They want to break play out of the playground and make sure it is everywhere where children find themselves. The competition is closed (we are a finalist! yay!!) . I can't wait to see who won, but mostly I love the ideas that people have submitted and that so many people submitted. Years ago the ideas wouldn't have been so great, but people are starting to "get" play and it is spreading.
So, designers, get more playful! Just like the designers who created this Pac-man-like rollie bench did, add a touch of humor where it is not expected. Wouldn't that bench be fun at a bus stop? Or how about in the lobby of a silk-stocking legal firm (well, maybe not appropriate, but think about it). Design so that people enjoy life and smile a little. And, while you're at it, pay attention when you are designing for city life. Are you designing for children? Don't take design so seriously. Design for joy. Design for beauty. Design for play. Design for kids, be they real ones or inner ones.