An amazing Free Play abstract playground has just gone up in Abu Dhabi, with an aim of giving kids unstructured play, rather than prescribed play on the usual monkey bars, swings, merry-go-rounds and slides.
Free Play is an American-based company that creates learning environments (like playground areas) for kids, with sensory-focused play structures. Its founder, Dan Schreibman, is a father of two, who says he noticed the limitations of standardised playgrounds, and observed that his daughters were much more engaged when playing in nature or in unstructured settings where they were free to explore.
The Abu Dhabi playground will be free for kids, which is surprising considering each piece of equipment costs between $30 000 and $50 000. The pieces include the Corn Field, a group of vertical “stalks” that can be bent to the ground but spring back up gently. They can be fitted with internal lights to glow, and Schreibman says that he’s exploring installing sensors in them, so that the tubes illuminate when touched. The
The Weeping Willow has 6.5-foot-long ropes that hang almost to the ground. Children can hide in, or climb and swing on the ropes.
There’s also the Ant Farm, organically shaped tubes that look as if they’re suspended in midair to provide spaces for climbing as well nooks for hanging out with friends. A cube, called the Maze, has Swiss cheese–like holes that can be climbed.
All equipment has been tested for safety.