Win a copy of Susan Solomon’s The Science of Play!

The thing I appreciate most about Susan Solomon’s new book The Science of Play: How to Build Playgrounds That Enhance Children’s Development is its boldness.  She doesn’t shrink from calling out playground manufacturers and suppliers, municipal officials, helicopter parents, and even the natural playground movement.

Some samples:

“Large American cities, which frequently allocate$2-3 million to upgrade a playground, are currently getting very little return on their investment.”

“We can no longer feign surprise that kids avoid playgrounds.  We have curbed their excitement and fearlessness.”

“When we look at today’s stock playground, we see an aesthetically unappealing place with few opportunities for personal exploration or social development.”

“We need innovative solutions, yet playground patrons often forgo architects, landscape architects or other artists because they believe (mistakenly) that their expertise and their designs will be too expensive.”

“An irony is that parents are risking traffic accidents as they drive kids around because they are not comfortable leaving them alone at a playground.”

“[Safety surfacing]…can double the cost of a playground without adding to what children can do.”

“In spite of absolutist rhetoric from advocates, natural playgrounds do not have a lock on exploration, sustainability, or ‘sense of place’…the term ‘nature play’ is being used indiscriminately.”

And yet, “This is a positive moment for play spaces in America.”  I agree….with all of the above.

If you care about play and spaces for play you need to read this book!  To win a copy, make your own bold statement about play and or playgrounds in the comment section.    One will be selected at random NEXT Monday to win a copy of The Science of Play.  Please note that a contest will also run on the Playscapes Facebook page…feel free to enter both, though you can only win once!

P.S.  The book shows as either temporarily out of stock or long shipping times at Amazon…they have assured Susan that this will soon be remedied. International readers, note the low shipping costs!

20 Responses to “Win a copy of Susan Solomon’s The Science of Play!”

  1. Daniel Lambert said:

    For the cognitive animal, play can be neither mandatory nor optional; it is the essence of the celebratory life. Its opposite is despair.

    November 07, 2014 at 3:39 pm

  2. Peter said:

    bumps, and bruises are part of the learning process, and should not be remedied in advance

    November 07, 2014 at 3:10 am

  3. Peter said:

    Bumps and bruises are part of the learning process, and should not be remedied in advance. A well performed risk analysis makes this possible.

    November 06, 2014 at 7:35 am

  4. TimR said:

    Dynamic playscapes for kids, teens and adults, and inter-generational play, are essential for humanising the dense urban environments of the megacities we are creating. Urban Interaction Design for physical recreation is an increasingly important cross-disciplinary design field; one that property developers should be required by law to fund extensively.

    November 05, 2014 at 9:58 pm

  5. Kasia said:

    Play is not just for kids – have you played lately? Have you jumped into the game, dressed up, run and run and run until you had to fall down? Give it a go – active meditation peace IN mind

    November 05, 2014 at 6:37 pm

  6. Paige Johnson said:

    Thank you, Susan, for throwing light on the litigation issue and the detrimental effect it’s having on our children’s lives and health.

    Nancy Bruning, MPH
    Nancercize: The Benchmark in Outdoor Fitness

    November 05, 2014 at 4:37 pm

  7. Kimberly said:

    Children love the periphery of today’s playgrounds- the puddle by the storm drain, the paths amongst the bushes, the pile of pinecones and leaves… Let’s bring that magic and fun to the center of the playground too!

    November 05, 2014 at 4:28 pm

  8. Jena Cameron said:

    I am leading fundraising to revitalize our schoolyard. It is such a disconnect to see fantastic play ideas from around the world… and contrast that with what is acceptable to our school board.The cheapest project our board did last year cost CDN$48K. The average cost was closer to CDN$70K. The kid part of the $48K project (a compact, basic, catalogue kindergarten structure) was CDN$16.5K. The rest (over $31K) was all ground prep and surfacing! New provincial accessibility standards have added 20% (average $20K) to each project without adding to the playability. I want to buy a copy of this book for our school board administration.

    November 04, 2014 at 9:22 pm

  9. Ray Conway said:

    Understanding children’s need for play is recognising one’s own childhood.

    November 04, 2014 at 8:05 pm

  10. Justin Martin said:

    We need more public places that are safe for play… cars and infrastructure dedicated to them have become the dominant feature of the American urban landscape. Play is a critical aspect of human development. It’s time to reconsider how streets and right-of-way can better serve everyone… including children.

    November 04, 2014 at 4:07 pm

  11. Paige Johnson said:

    Great comments so far! Thanks!

    November 04, 2014 at 1:32 pm

  12. chad calease said:

    A mentor used to share fantastic stories about the connections between play and learning, that they are connected in all kinds of ways in all age groups, especially where creating atmospheres optimized for learning are concerned. He used to say things that resonated big time, things like: “If you are trying to teach fish how to swim, it helps if you put them in the water.”


    November 04, 2014 at 9:26 am

  13. Judy Miller said:

    Very timely as my agency evaluates play structures in our parks and is planning for a nature playscape near our nature center and outdoor aquatic center.

    November 04, 2014 at 9:09 am

  14. Sherry said:

    Play is Power.

    November 04, 2014 at 6:52 am

  15. Maureen O'Shea said:

    Nature play does not have to be exclusive to climbing and exploring; quiet, contemplative experience of nature must always be encouraged.

    November 04, 2014 at 3:08 am

  16. James Nash said:

    Looking forward to this book! Looking at the evolution of catalogue sourced playgrounds and playground equipment begs the question- how did it get this bad?! And expensive?! Im hoping that linking the science on children’s behavioural development and the environments we, as adults provide for them will shine a light on a new creative way forward. Far from being formulaic this will engage children more creatively, meaningfully and playfully in their own local sense of place .

    November 03, 2014 at 10:20 pm

  17. Valentine said:

    What could be more inspiring of creativity, pretending, fun, exploration, and learning than playing in a lovingly made creative play habitat? Every child needs access to this kind of warm, rich, inviting environment that inspires and excites.

    November 03, 2014 at 4:25 pm

  18. Zana said:

    Watching two baby animals play they leap, they jump, they rough and tumble. They are bold, adventurous and carefree. Our children are the same they have the fundamental and natural right to play this way and no matter how many safe play zones we create we will not stop them. We need playscapes that encourage their natural instincts – after all play is fundamental to maturing and healthy play will lead to healthy adults.

    November 03, 2014 at 2:11 pm

  19. Greg Pawlica said:

    Parks, play-scapes, and play structures are important elements in every community. Places to relax and play bring neighbors together and help create a sense of community. Play structures create an opportunity for young developing minds to use their imagination, and keep their physical form active and in shape.

    November 03, 2014 at 11:12 am

  20. Everett Keyser said:

    If we don’t give kids a place to play, they will find or make on on their own, potentially to our own or their detriment.

    November 03, 2014 at 11:07 am

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