How we Make
PLAYable landscapes and Outdoor Learning Environments
that activate bodies, engage minds,
and bring nature to urban-bound spaces.
Levels of Engagement:
Stories unite people around a cause, build consensus, and develop shared goals. Along with an initial assessment of your current space, we ask lots of questions that help us uncover what is unique about your story, culture and
context. We celebrate and feature that special personality in the design of your outdoor space.
Initial Contact: Contact us by phone or email. We’ll help you decide which of our services will best suit your needs and desired outcomes. Our goal at any level of consultation is to understand your underlying conditions and apply our elegant and
inspired design approach.
“Drive-by” Assessment: Summary of current conditions, initial
impressions, recommendations, and suggestions for next steps.
A Digital Drive-by Assessment can be arranged - just ask!
Fee for time on site and generation of the written assessment
report within 2 weeks of visit, plus mileage charged if you are
located beyond a 50-mile distance of Chattanooga, TN.
Activation of Stakeholders: A 2-hour facilitated and mentored
session through which you and your adult* stakeholders will be
guided to discover your program’s values and your project’s goals.
The spontaneity, permission to play and have fun, and free
association that happen in these sessions generates a lot of energy.
We’ll warm up by inviting your folks to take part in an interactive
Pop-Up Museum event. We’ll teach about the value of play, necessity of immersion in nature, and tune-in to the perspective and learning styles of children. This exciting and informative
process will stimulate creativity and prime the design outcomes.
By the end, we will have the outline of your “story” identified and priorities agreed upon.
This option can be chosen as stand-alone event to determine
your community's interest in contracting for a full 2-day
*We can include children over the age of 5 if pre-arranged and
pertinent to your community. We love to engage with
preschoolers to brainstorm too, but this is only offered as part of a full consultation and is less structured.
Fee: Facilitated session, story outline, plus mileage (and accommodations, if distance necessitates).
Full 2-Day On-Site Consultation: With your help we will propose a schedule to meet with
small groups of your stakeholders to include you, your governing group, administrators,
educators, children, and families over a period of 6 hours each
day. The schedule will include 2 “meet and eat” lunches (you’ll
provide the food), and a one and half hour evening meeting for
participants of your choosing. The evening meeting can be either
an abbreviated “Activation of Stakeholders" as described above
or "Professional Development" session as described below. This
comprehensive self-evaluation and mentored brainstorming
process will lead to a detailed, written proposal and 2 artistic
renderings within 4 weeks of your consultation.
Fee for 2-Day On-Site Consultation, written propoal and 2 artistic renderings, plus mileage and accommodations are added if you are beyond a 50 mile distance of Chattanooga, TN.
Customized Consultation: Not seeing the exact consultation experience you desire? Let's chat! Please express what will work for you and we will put together a proposal to match.
We cannot bring back to urbanbound children the expansive "wildscapes" for play enjoyed by most children for centuries, but we can bring back little pieces of them to complement their contemporary playthings and enrich their lives. Joe Frost
Group Pinterest boards set up for sharing ideas - free
Photo Books produced to facilitate fundraising - minimum fee $120 for first book, 22 pages or less. Additional books may be purchased at cost.
Artistic Renderings - 2 are included in your Project Proposal. Additional renderings are $300 each.
Architectural Renderings - fee dependent on scope
Guided by an integrated philosophy of education, we demonstrate a creative persistence that extends into the smallest details of our designs. This process results in a plan that functions for children and educators, delivers high play value, and facilitates an ever-changing presentation of inquiry and discovery experiences. Your design proposal will clearly and compellingly communicate your plan to funders.
Play is not something children do on play equipment. It is the way they respond to an environment. Michael Follett
We follow your lead on how you want to bring your design to life. You may already have access to qualified contractors and developers. Some programs feel strongly about using local labor. We can help you vet your contractor or guide your installation to maintain the integrity of the design. Whichever direction you want to take, our goal is to assure that your project will be something unique and individualized and unlike anyone else's -- something that cannot be achieved by choosing from a catalog!
Bespoke Elements We have relationships with chainsaw and concrete sculptors, artists, craftsmen and carpenters. Handmade pieces add whimsy
and beauty to your environment, but may be outside the talents of the typical contractor. We can help you find the right match for your project and design.
Volunteer Workdays Do you have a group that is ready and willing
but needs organized to be able? Some parts of your project might pair
well with volunteer effort. We can help you decide and get prepared.
Hourly fees apply.
Fundraising We're happy to share what other clients have found successful.
Children's Art We believe children should
be invested in the design and making
processes and that their voices should be
represented in the outcome. We always
include an element in the design that can be
made by the children. Our makers are on call
to assist, if needed. Hourly fees apply.
In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. Margaret Atwood
What if I already know what I want?
Our collaborative process will give shape, depth and flesh to your ideas. At the same time, we'll bring your community into consensus to build excitement and energy toward making your dreams into reality. We can blend your ideas into a unified vision that avoids a disjointed and piecemeal end product.
How are playable landscapes and outdoor classrooms assessed for safety?
There are many standards and guidelines for the regulation of the safety of manufactured equipment. Some of these can apply to boulders and stumps equally as well as to post and deck structures and are the same for things like fall zones, resilient surfacing and height of play elements.. However, attempts to regulate Mother Nature and sanitize dirt are complicated and questionable pursuits. There will always be a margin of uncertainty. Training your outdoor educators and play supervisors in risk assessment and management is key. We can help with that too!
What if I don't have access to a "wild" space?
A priority of the PLAYceMaker mission is to infuse nature into urban-bound spaces that expose children in the most manmade areas to the benefits and beauty of being in a nature-infused environment.