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Hermit crab cityscapes

Okay, this contains many of my favorite things.

Amazing tiny things!
Small animal!
3D printing!
More miniature things!
Art idea that most people would think, “What?! WHY?”

windmill_web

Artist Aki Inomata creates beautiful plastic shell for hermit crabs that are crafted into elegant cityscapes.

You can watch a short video here.

Reading articles about Ani’s work led me to this article on Inhabitat about Maker Bot’s Project Shelter and the shortage of hermit crab shells.

More Labyrinth pictures from around town

Sibley volcanic preserve
labyrinth - sibley volcanic preserve

There’s a tiny old one over by Lake Merritt. I can’t find a picture of it right now.

I know there is another labyrinth in Tilden somewhere but I haven’t made it out there.

Okay, this one is on Maui. I can dream it is about town.
labyrinth @ Nakalele Blowhole

This is the labyrinth I talk about here and here.
pacing

Boston Children’s Museum

This picture is taken out the window of the Boston Children’s Museum while waiting for the tour of the authentic Japanese house (very cool, btw).

boston

I watched the painted hopscotch game get used by several passers-by. There was also a great paver maze at the entrance to the museum. I love using the ground plane as a design element, it’s something that kids especially notice and can’t resist reacting to.

Rainbow slide in Sweden

I’ve seen a couple of pictures of this slide in a playground in Sweden.

Sagolekplatsen Malmö Stadsbibliotek

How fun does that look?! I want to go there immediately. I love the slide/bridge over a stream environment creation and that there are so many elevation changes visible in this picture. I wonder what the rest of this park is like!

Oh I searched around online web and found out it is The Fairytale Playground in Malmo.

Here’s a picture where you can see more of the park.

Temalekplats slottsparken

LOVE those grass mounds to the left.

and here’s a link to Alex Smith’s post on Playgroundology about the other awesome playgrounds in Malmo. Actually just go read his post about all the themed playgrounds in Malmo. Links and pics galore!

The Spiral Playground, also in Malmo, reminds me of the DNA strand in front of the Lawrence Hall of Science.
Here is my nephew climbing it
conquering the double helix

Oh this is a good pic too. You can see my son’s bald head. Heehehee
action shot

On the hunt for great play areas

ada and jack
A and J climbing up the bank.

I’m always on the hunt for great local play areas. It is easiest to start with hunting for actual playgrounds. Anyone with the care of a small child will tell you the importance of knowing your local playgrounds intimately.

Just driving around isn’t good enough for really exploring. I also use Yelp and Google Maps. Yelp is so useful for reviews and finding out if a playground has a bathroom or not (crucial!). In Google maps get to neighborhood level in regular Maps (not satellite) view and look for any green areas. We moved into a new house about a year ago and I found, three blocks away, the most fun little informal play area. I swear I had walked by it a million times and never even knew it was there until I saw the green band in Google Maps. It’s a long skinny path mostly used by dog walkers BUT a creek runs along it for a whole block and in one spot you can cross to find a tiny little grassy picnic area. Creeks are about the best thing ever to play with, you can make dams, watch the flow of water, float boats made form leaves and bark, throw rocks, there are so many possibilities. The other non creek section has some rocks and planting beds and some neat trees. Perfect!

new boots

This area is quite urban and even though I can drive 10 minutes and be on the beautiful bay in Alameda or Berkeley it’s nice to have some tiny bits of nature in walking distance.

Where do you play that isn’t an actual playground?

DSC04452
Kids playing on a neat-o tree.

KaBoom – Online Resources

It looks like KaBoom has some interesting sounding talks you can listen to online about various aspects of playground design and installation. Heres a link.

There are interviews with designers, how to maintain a community garden and get volunteers, info about outdoor schools and tons more. Go check it out if you are interesting in getting your community active in having playgrounds installed and including kids in landscapes.

I see KaBoom also has a new iPhone app called Playgrounds! I haven’t tried it yet and I see that it gets mixed reviews. One reviewer mentions that it seems to include any school campus regardless of age range. It’s not often you find a high school with a playground… and even if you did it might not be open to the public. I’ll download this myself and give it a try. Hopefully my very old and getting decrepit iPhone can handle it.