What did you want children to experience with your ambulance playground in Malawi?
As a kid I once ended up in the hospital. I dove off a springboard and broke my nose. I remember being so bored after a while. This playground in Malawi takes your mind off of being sick. It also attacks a lot of other kids from the neighborhood, so it’s easy to make friends here.
How different is a playground for children with special needs? Do they need more place for playing? What about the safety?
The ambulance clubhouse of the playground is wheelchair accessible. The equipment is adjusted so kids with plastered limbs can easily go for a spin. There are way less rules in Malawi then here in the Netherlands so it was easier to make the playground here. Everything is made to last for a very long time because of the use of car equipment which is usually very strong. In case something breaks, the local craftsmen will repair it as we provide warranty coverage.
What are the most important components of making such a modern playground?
Imagination is key. Think of what you would like as a kid. I think kids like this urban playground because they can pretend being a grownup and ride a badass car. Besides that, it’s important to make sure the equipment can handle the wild ones. We’ve asked Mose, one of the builders, to test it.
Do you have any advice of how to accommodate special needs children on the playground?
Research is very important. By talking to children and seeing the project through their eyes you make sure you’ll make something they like.
What do you see as the greatest joy from working with playgrounds?
Being the designer of the playground gives you a well-grounded reason to go down the slide 20 times in a row. And of course it’s great to see the joy of the kids using the equipment.
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