EnTYREly Fun Playgrounds, James Jolley

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Tires are generally a locally available material in developing countries, and are a key material for structures like those by GoPlay and Basurama.  They’re also often a prominent feature in adventure playgrounds, which share a commitment to low-cost and recycled components.  Friend and playground advocate Tim Gill reminded me about the amazing manual for building tire structures by the late James Jolley, which is online in its entirety in memory of its author’s commitment to children’s environments.

Full instructions for every imaginable form of tire structure as well as some constructs using cable spools and barrels, too!  Delightful.  In my backyard growing up, we had a traditional swingset along with a big dirt hill (my mom asked the workers for a dumptruck of dirt when they were building the road), a barrel, an enormous tractor tire and a cable spool…hours of fun, especially before the trees were tall enough to climb.

In keeping with my line of thought lately about playground rubrics, here is how Jolley divided the types of playground functions provided by his designs:

1. Climbing
2. Swings
3. Sand and water play
4. Dramatic play
5. Landscaping, retaining walls etc.
6. Fantasy
7. Loose or movable constructive
8. Quiet
9. Movement equipment
10. Group
11. Solitary

A tire dragon to Jolley’s design by Learning Structures in New Hampshire

7 Responses to “EnTYREly Fun Playgrounds, James Jolley”

  1. Playground Ideas said:

    Thanks for making Jimi Jolley’s book available, Play-Scapes! Here’s a blog post about an adapted version of one of his designs we built as well as a link to download the plans: http://www.playgroundideas.org/blog/day-70-slide-jimmi-2

    June 27, 2014 at 10:57 pm

  2. Playing with Emotions | Playground Guru said:

    […] I reflected on this question, I remembered the work of Jimi Jolley, who was one of the most inspirational and original thinkers I have encountered in the field of […]

    December 10, 2013 at 2:53 pm

  3. Paige Johnson said:

    The Jolley manual is now available on the front page of the blog!

    August 13, 2013 at 9:27 am

  4. Gail Boldt said:

    I had the great pleasure of working with Jim Jolley on two different playgrounds in Hawai’i. He was a remarkable man and the playgrounds made for a remarkable community project. His untimely death is still mourned by many.

    August 10, 2013 at 1:59 pm

  5. Paige Johnson said:

    Thanks Lisa, I was unaware this link no longer worked. I’ll try to find another source, and will update the post.

    August 01, 2013 at 12:00 pm

  6. Lisa said:

    Your link for the manual doesn’t work. Please fix, I’d love to have a look

    August 01, 2013 at 1:57 am

  7. Heather said:

    I loved tire playgrounds! There were two in my hometown growing up and one of them had the dragon that you featured here.

    They are both gone now, tires don't hold up well over the years.

    You have an AMAZING blog, I'm so happy I stumbled across it. I've popped into my reader. 🙂

    March 11, 2012 at 4:35 am

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