Clearly I’m not alone in still loving playgrounds and was triggered to write about the one in the pictures after reading this post from a blog all about play spaces. We lived in Japan for a few years and discovered some beautifully designed spaces for both children and adults to play in. Indeed the whole notion of play as an activity that continues unapologetically through our lives is very much a feature of Japanese culture generally. Play-centres in Japan are often set up for adults to play with their children in rather than a place just for kids.
This piece is in a large outdoor art museum in a place called Hakone about an hour from Tokyo near Mount Fuji. We visited it with our son and another family and completely lost track of time playing in it. Like the Schulberg playground in Germany this works for kids of multiple ages, my son was under three when he played on this. The clever use of knitted tunnels being both challenging and supportive at the same time. None of the kids could stay still long enough to get a photo with them in focus.
And when you clambered your way to the top there was, just like lying in a real hammock, a place of peace and tranquility. Until of course two children emerged from a tunnel to shout and giggle and then disappear down another one.
And this is the outside, the supporting construction being assembled from wooden blocks that reminded me of the sort of constructions you can make with kapla wooden blocks. Thanks to the designers of this incredible object and to playscapes whose blog reminded me of our afternoon at the Hakone Outdoor Art museum.