Innovative play system leads evolution in design for youth fitness
Evos was designed by Landscape Structures Inc., a Delano, Minn.-manufacturer of playground equipment for municipal parks. Unlike traditional play systems that feature prescribed entry and exit points, Evos has a spherical design that offers children an infinite number of ways to enter, exit and move through the play system.
With Evos, play is possible in every direction, and no two play experiences are ever the same. The freestyle, unscripted form of play allows kids to challenge themselves, which keeps them playing longer and more energetically.
Bill Schwind, deputy director for the Glendale Parks and Recreation Department, said that the innovative Evos system was a natural fit for the Sahuaro Ranch, which along with other regional parks is a recreation destination for families.
At the core of the Sahuaro Ranch Evos play system is a customized configuration of sweeping structural arches that support a matrix of horizontal ladders, Corocord cable climbers, Wobble Pods and banisterlike slides. The unusual design draws kids onto the structures and especially appeals to older children and those who thrive on unstructured play.
According to Schwind, the Parks and Recreation Department knew it had a hit on its hands even before the dedication. “We completed the installation a few days before the unveiling and dedication, and we had trouble keeping kids away—it was that attractive,” he said. “When we unveiled the play system, it was a jaw-dropper. Kids were chomping at the bit to get on it and it has been busy every since.”
What’s even more surprising, he said, is how kids play on Evos. “The thing I see when I watch kids play on Evos is that there are no lines to get on and off the play system or to use any of the events.” He noted that no one just stands around. “[The kids] are kind of all over it. And they are almost exclusively using their upper body and core muscles to climb and move through the play structure. They’re getting a very good workout when they play.”
The Glendale Parks and Recreation Department also has noticed that many families are passing up their neighborhood parks just to let their kids play on the Evos play system. Parents like it because the children are completely engaged in play and are directing themselves. Kids like it because they can chart their own course.
Steve King, co-founder and chairman of Landscape Structures, believes Evos can play a role in helping children build healthier lifestyles. “There are more than 300,000 playgrounds at U.S. elementary schools and city parks,” said King. “By simply designing a playground with fitness in mind, we can encourage our children to grow stronger, happier and healthier.”
For more information, visit Landscape Structures Inc. at http://www.playlsi.com/.