The truth is that we need to start bringing in fresh minds and new companies with new ideas into the playground design process. With world markets more accessible than ever before, we should be able to include technology into our playgrounds at lower costs with higher quality.
Gaining a child’s attention is hard to do these days. With each day that passes, our lives become more dependent on technology, children included. From portable gaming systems, to interactive technologically advanced toys, the way children play and are entertained has changed. Combine these new forms of physically inactive play, with busy parents and fast dietary choices, and we are left with an unhealthy situation. Although all other forms of children’s entertainment seem to have developed and advanced with the times, playground equipment has not. How can we as playground industry professionals come up with new ideas for equipment that not only physically challenge children, but also stimulate their senses in the same manner that new and improved technology has?
The only way this can be accomplished is by starting to slowly bring technology into playground equipment. There are many companies that have begun to explore this field, introducing new playground equipment that actually interacts with the children, using power generated by turning knobs and handles on the equipment. This energy is used to light up panels, similar to kiosks you would find in a museum.
These products have proven to be effective, however they have not been cost effective. In order for any idea to be a success in the playground market, it has to be affordable. Why is it that we can purchase a home gaming system, capable of nearly limitless entertainment and communication for less than three hundred dollars, but a small panel, utilizing technology developed during the Edison era, costs tens of thousands of dollars?