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Archive for the ‘playful spaces’ Category

summer science

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A good friend of mine is Young Scientist Centre Manager at the Royal Institution. The centre doesn’t open until September but in the meantime we were invited along to one of the Institution’s Family Fun Days.

We were treated to a lecture about the science of rock music, demonstrations of the world’s largest whoopie cushion, and received instructions on how to make two coat hangers sound like Big Ben (strangely the most impressive bit of the whole day).

On our friend’s recommendation we also went to the Royal Society for their  Summer Science Exhibition.

This was a bigger, busier event with the emphasis more on cutting edge scientific research and less on hands-on stuff for kids. In retrospect I spent most time on the biology stands and now feel well educated about ladybirds and snails. Goo-making seemed to captivate the kids.

There seemed a curious bias amongst the medical stands which seemed strangely focused on female anatomy, including a stand with real human placenta in a bag, which provided the ick factor for the grown-ups.

We did a bad job of collecting all the freebies but we did come away with slinkys. So we were kept amused on the journey home.

I’d recommend both events to science fans (and to fans of grand buildings) but the RI event is particularly good if you’ve got kids.

Written by Karen

July 6th, 2009 at 1:52 pm

i don’t want a slide at work

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Work Happy Now blogged about the Google slide. Now call me grumpy but I don’t want a slide at work. It is just a bit too try hard, too “Look at us! Aren’t we crazy!”. It reminds me of guys with comedy ties.

I would like a giraffe in our atrium though.

Written by Karen

July 24th, 2008 at 6:30 am


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another I want…. a Treepee

I reckon that’d be a good use of the huge ecalyptus that has decided over the years that our garden is way nicer than the place it was planted.

Written by Karen

June 29th, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Posted in playful spaces,toys

J. Morgan Puett’s home

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“Morgan has been making her own world as if the rest of the world didn’t exist,” he added. “She’s designing her own universe, her own lifestyle, with remarkable consistency. Somehow it all works together when people are in that environment.”

From In Her Own World in the New York Times

Ms. Puett’s vision reaches even into the refrigerator, which she has transformed into a strange, constantly shifting vignette of fresh food, old textiles and unusual scientific vials. “I buy beautiful and grotesque foods and try to put them in a new context,” she said. A broccoli floret sits on an antique candlestick, a pomegranate and brown eggs in a glass vase, carrots in ceramic pots. All liquids are decanted into glass measuring vessels.

Don’t be surprised if you come round and find my fridge looks like this

Written by Karen

June 19th, 2008 at 8:55 am

Posted in playful spaces

secret garden nursery

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I read about the Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery in an article in the Sunday Herald. There’s coverage in the Guardian too.

When the Secret Garden nursery opens next autumn, the children will have none of the games and equipment seen in a normal suburban nursery: plastic see-saws, cushioned vinyl floors and sterilised building blocks. Their curriculum will be devoted to nature walks, rearing chickens, climbing trees, “mud play” and vegetable gardening. Their playground will be the forest, and their shelter a wattle and daub “cob” building with outdoor toilets.

Pileswasp would obviously love it, as will nephew Woody if nomen et omen is true (not the Woody in the article, that’s just coincidence).

Written by Karen

June 14th, 2008 at 10:17 am

we don’t play in the streets anymore

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The media frenzy about teenage knife crime reminded me that there was a story in the newspapers a while back about playing in the streets. The story was that only 2 in 10 children play in the streets and parks close to their homes each day, compared to 7 in 10 when their parents were growing up. Traffic was considered to be the main factor that keeps children indoors. The stories were based on a survey commissioned by Play England, a project aiming to help all children in England “to have regular access and opportunity for free, inclusive, local play provision and play space”.

The newspaper stories highlighted teenage gangs (the latest tabloid demons) as another factor in keeping the majority of children off the streets. The actual research states that

“the young people in the study perceived traffic as the greatest danger, far outweighing fears of bullies and gangs, strangers and fear of attack”.

The Play England article goes on to say that one of the problems is “the demonisation of children and young people” which makes the newspaper coverage somewhat ironic.

Written by Karen

June 5th, 2008 at 10:23 am

I want one!

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Written by Karen

March 5th, 2008 at 8:43 am

Posted in books,playful spaces

BBC activates one of its homing chips

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Matt Jones returns to the BBC in a few weeks. I think this confirms my theory that they put chips in our brains that make you feel ill if you are away too long.

Jones recently presented at Interesting 2007, Russell Davies’ conference where “all sorts of speakers speak about all sorts of stuff. Not brands, advertising, blogging and twitter but interesting, unexpected, original things.” I’ve just been flicking through his slides on slideshare and it shouldn’t have surprised me that he crammed themes of play in there alongside cityscapes, comics, the Sultan’s elephant, Parkour, Francis Fukyama, and psychogeography:

“truly playful spaces are those that enable the unplanned and un-authored to occur within their environments. Truly playful spaces are being crowded out by authored experiences, but this is only having the effect of making them even more attractive environments. A great recent example was the “play” inspired by The Weather Project installation in Tate Modern, where many people chose to lie down and bathe in the artifical sunlight, making patterns together that they could see in the huge mirrored ceiling”.

Looking forward to having him back and causing chaos.

Written by Karen

June 29th, 2007 at 11:47 am

Posted in bbc,playful spaces,work