23 October 2012

Learning and play go hand-in-hand

I believe that everyone is born with a great mind, but it is how you develop that mind that sets you apart from the rest.

It is so important to give your child every opportunity possible to learn. To provide them with the right environment to try new things, take risks, and challenge them to become better. From the first time you make a splash in the bathtub, to falling over in the park; children are continually learning and their eyes are open wide, digesting their surroundings and everything in it.
At Playdale we continually strive to produce playground equipment that is not just fun, but stimulates and enriches a child’s mind.

Our new schools and nurseries range: ‘Little Explorers’ was a very interesting project to be a part of. It was great to learn why different aspects of the ‘Little Explorers’ were created, and the benefits that every inch of each unit has for a child.
The extensive development and research that the project underwent, working alongside child psychologists was an extremely intriguing process, and much more in-depth than I ever imagined play equipment design to entail before working at Playdale.
We installed 47 new play areas over the summer break for schools throughout the country, and it’s very satisfying to know that each playground is helping children learn, develop and grow every day.
“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.” - Joseph Chilton Pearce (Author).

For more information visit: www.playdale.co.uk or www.playdaleschools.co.uk

29 August 2012

Play doesn't cost a penny

When I was younger a trip to the theme park was a rare treat. It was even rarer to find ourselves heading down the M55 to the glorious Blackpool Pleasure Beach, as our ‘day-out budget’ could only stretch to the wonderful world of Morecambe!

However all of these expensive days out could not live up to the freedom and simple pleasures of playing outside with a football, or going on the swings at the local park.

A recent poll by Sainsbury’s asked 1,500 five to eleven year olds in the UK to rank their favourite summertime activity in order of preference, and the results showed that the joys of the great outdoors was preferred over spending money going to the cinema or to theme parks. 

Parents seem to feel a great deal of pressure to entertain their children, and for some reason see expensive excursions as the answer. Maybe it is a lack of creativity on their part, or simply that they just don’t understand that all a child wants to do is have fun. One of my favourite things to do was to get a balloon and play tennis over the couch using my hand, pretending to be the mighty Tim Henman. Who needs the IMAX!

There are plenty of things going on throughout the country as people are taking the fight to childhood obesity; from national Playday’s, to residential areas campaigning to close their streets for the day to allow their children to play outside. It is great to see people making the effort and trying to get their children active.
It doesn’t have to be a big deal……just let your children play.

14 August 2012

Inspiring the Next Generation

As ‘The Who’ belted out a fantastic rendition of ‘My Generation’ to the lucky crowd at the Olympic Stadium and millions of proud Brits at home, there was only one thing on my mind; we are Great Britain and we are here to stay!
After a fantastic two weeks of pure action and drama, the Olympics had surpassed my expectations and left me feeling proud and excited for the future. From the consistent lows of watching England’s national football team crash out of competitions, it was quite surreal to see our team striding to success in such a glorious manner.
29 gold medals is an unbelievable achievement and a real testament to the commitment, determination and talent that Team GB showed in this year’s Games. This success bodes well for the next generation, as we try to ride the wave of glory and push forward towards world sporting domination. Funding is going to be made available for children all over the country to receive quality training and the first class facilities that we need to help nurture them into future stars.
This is a great thing that may finally start to help tackle the fight against childhood obesity and inspire the next generation to put down their PlayStation controllers and get active.
Rule Britannia indeed!

20 July 2012

More than just the Games

Stepping up onto the podium to a rapture of applause; your nation’s national anthem bursting through the stadium speaker system; taking a bow as you are presented with your winners medal; rushes of adrenaline pumping through your body as you slowly begin to realise…..you are the champion of the world!

What an incredible, overwhelming feeling that must be.

As Britain prepares to host the London Olympics I’m sure that most people in the country will have dreamt about that moment happening to them at some point in their lives. Hopes are being pinned on our Olympians and as the pressure mounts it will be interesting to see how we perform against the world’s elite.

I recall many a time bounding across my living room and posing for photographs on my make-believe podium as I tried to imitate the great Jonathan Edwards.

What is great about events like these is the excitement and magic that it brings to children all over the globe. It is a chance for them to watch their heroes and dream of one day being able to emulate their success. It gives them hope and belief that they too can succeed and their dreams can come true.

In today’s world where childhood obesity and physical fitness is continually plaguing the modern child; it is important that events like the Olympics inspire children and urge them to put down their Xbox controller, get outside and play like children should.

A recent study by the Universities of Strathclyde and Newcastle found that many children 10 years or younger only perform physical activity for roughly 20 minutes per day. This is shocking.
So as London 2012 draws near let’s get in the spirit of the Games and get behind the nation in every way that we can. Take your children to the park and let them pretend that they are the ‘new and improved’ Sally Gunnell and let them be inspired.

But most of all let your children play.

8 May 2012

"Life must be lived as Play"

One of my Grandad’s favourite sayings is: “Everyone grows old, not everyone grows up”.

I seem to have inherited his nonchalant view on growing up and can’t seem to shake the inner child in me. After all, what is the point in life if you can’t live it with a smile on your face?

I’m sure I am not the only person who struggles to walk past a puddle without a mischievous thought creeping into my head!

So when I came across this picture of two elderly gentlemen succumbing to the lure of playground swings it was a breath of fresh air. It helps to remind people not to take life too seriously, that we all were once a happy, care-free child and we should enjoy the time we have.

Whether you decide to take that naughty leap into a dirty puddle, resulting in an unscheduled trip to the dry cleaners, or jump on an aerial runway at your local park; try to remember that ‘Life must be lived as Play’.


20 March 2012

Protect Your Playground

A recurring theme continues to regularly creep into my news feed day after day: playground vandalism.

Vandalism is an issue that may never be stopped. The fallacious concept that it is ‘cool’ to damage property is a misdemeanour that has tormented communities throughout the world for years.

I recently read an article that was extremely disheartening about a community playground that was burnt to the ground just days before the eagerly anticipated opening. Following months of planning and successfully securing funding for the equipment, I can’t imagine the disappointment and frustration that this will have caused. It’s bemusing to think that there are people out there that would actually gain some sort of self-satisfaction and enjoyment from breaking young children’s hearts and demolish morale within their own community.

With the problems that we have in today’s financially glum society, people should be pulling together to make the most of everything that comes their way, particularly if it is on their doorstep.

Vandalism is a terrible, heartless and irresponsible act, and hopefully one day people might take a step back and realise that what they are doing is wrong. Until then, communities can only continue to stand firm and not let minorities put a dark cloud on something that should be embraced.


27 February 2012

Make Someone Smile

I once bought two meat and potato pies and as I casually strolled down the street, filling my face with pastry, I walked past a homeless man sat on the pavement. I’m not sure whether it was my charitable side or simply the guilt that I had been greedy and bought two pies; but I gave one to the very grateful man and went about my day.

Charity comes in all forms, and in a materialistic world where people are judged on their possessions; how much money they earn, the clothes they wear and the car they drive; charity is a beautiful and priceless thing. The world passes many people by without realising how privileged they really are. It’s just the way it is.

I have recently been inspired by a member of staff at Playdale, Mick O’Doherty, who embarked on a selfless mission to make a real difference to people who don’t have the privileges that we have.
Mick recently took part in a charity trip to Tondo, one of the poorest regions of Manila in the Philippines. Along with a group of volunteers from Sholing Technology College, Mick helped to build two new playgrounds in the middle of a tenement housing estate that occupies an unbelievable 15,000 residents within half a square mile.

The children in this area grow up in poverty and have probably never seen a climbing frame or a slide before, so installing products like the Adventure Trail, Rope Walk, Ladder Walk, and Swinging Steps will have been very warmly welcomed by the children.

Mick’s inspiration to join the project was to give the children something that we may take for granted, and provide the community with a safe place for their children to play.

It really goes to show what can be done to make some people’s lives that little bit better. Whether it is building a playground in a deprived country, or simply giving someone your last Rolo; we should all play our part to make the world a better place.

Mick said: “You should always try to give more in life than you take out of it”.

Here, Here!

10 February 2012

Once upon a story time....

What was your favourite time of the day at primary school?

Apart from home time, story time was a magical part of mine. It gave my wild and wonderful imagination a chance to delve into the mysterious realms of fiction. From strange Cats in Hats, to Stories that Neverend; my imagination would run away with itself developing friendships with characters that have lasted a lifetime. To this day I still believe that if I ever met a giant he would be big and friendly.

Books may have taken a backseat in recent years to television, film and the internet; and the way technology is developing, books may soon be placed in the same category as slate and chalk. However, I’m sure many people in the world will agree that you can’t beat a good book?

Reading is an important part of a child’s development and growth. It can help them to become confident learners, enhance their communication skills and creativity. It cultivates their imagination and allows them to express themselves. But most importantly of all: they absolutely love it!

Playdale’s Schools and Nurseries range has delivered some fantastic new products this year that are certain to make children’s story-time that little bit more enchanting. The fabulous Storytelling Chair and Toadstools will transform your outdoor learning area into an amphitheatre of dreams, fantasy and excitement.

Make your next story time one to remember!

To request a brochure visit www.playdaleschools.co.uk or click here

26 January 2012

Video Games vs. Climbing Frames

My mum used to say to me, along with many others I presume: “You’ll get square eyes watching the TV for that long”.

Fortunately this never happened, although I do remember pondering and worrying about the idea many a time. The effect that this fabricated statement did have on me however, was give me an added incentive to get my wellies on and embark on countless days of fun and adventure.

This doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Modern technology has sabotaged children’s outdoor play schedules, as they opt for the latest video games rather than climbing frames.
A recent study from Play England charity revealed that, out of 2000 children, 1 in 5 youngsters don’t go outside to play. How times have changed!

This staggering figure can be put down to a number of different reasons, ranging from games consoles to parental laziness. But what I struggle to understand is why children are sitting in the confines of their bedrooms playing the latest ‘shoot ‘em up’ (and why parents would be happy for them to do so) when they could be having a great time running around in the park? I absolutely loved playing out when I was younger and it was very rare that you would find me without a football attached to my foot or dangling from the top of a climbing frame like a possessed chimpanzee.

Obviously I understand, and have on many occasions been attracted to the lure of the PlayStation and Xbox; but the playground equipment that is available to children nowadays is phenomenal and constantly developing. Products like the Aero Tilt, Rota Glide and Air Glider are fantastic, exciting and dynamic products that weren’t available when I was younger. Not to mention the ground-breaking i-play that has completely revolutionised children’s outdoor play.

It isn’t right that some children are missing out on so much fun, and with the growing concerns about childhood obesity we need to be embracing the great outdoors.

So to all of the parents who think that their children are truly happy sat by themselves playing on the computer; put your boots on, take them to the park and let them loose on some cracking playground equipment!

For more information about our products click here, or to request a brochure click here

18 January 2012

Hey Hey we're the Monkeys!

Many products tend to have an expiry date nowadays, with new fads, updates, gadgets and advances in technology constantly changing what’s hot and what’s not. So how do timeless classics brush off the impending force of advancement and still manage to not only hold their own in the market, but thrive under the pressures of ‘shelf-life’?

Monkey bars are a piece of playground equipment that has stood the test of time. Playgrounds, along with many things in society, have changed and developed over the years. There have been ground-breaking advancements in electronic play and cutting edge designs; however monkey bars are still one of the most used pieces of playground equipment. Tarzan wannabes can be seen swinging from playgrounds all over the country and will remain to do so for years to come.

Health and fitness has been at the forefront of playground design in recent years, and with child obesity issues being a hot topic, it is more important than ever for children to get themselves outdoors and exercising. Monkey bars provide excellent physical and technical challenges that promote upper body strength, balance and coordination.

Check out Playdale’s Adventure Trail range on our website for more information and the many different ways that you can fit a brand new set of monkey bars into your playground.

Go on, get out there and monkey around!