Play Today

Playgrounds made from junk

April 03, 2013 Kerala Taylor

Here’s one complaint we frequently hear from families: “All the playgrounds look the same.” They’re right: Many neighborhood playgrounds offer a similar array of equipment, in similar styles and colors. No wonder our kids get bored.

The truly unique playgrounds, where a family might easily wile away an afternoon, tend to be concentrated in downtown areas and require hefty budgets. So how can we bring the thrill, ingenuity, and whimsy of these destination playgrounds to the neighborhood level—without breaking the bank?

Perhaps the answer lies in our trash bins and junkyards. Plastic bottles, car parts, old tires, and shipping containers can all be scavenged, and can each offer unique play opportunities. Don’t believe us? See for yourself:

  • This playground in Stavanger, Norway is made of recycled materials from oil rigs. Photo via Abstract Noun.
  • This section of Stavanger, Norway's oil rig playground makes use of old plastic buoys. Photo via Abstract Noun.
  • Helsinki-based sculptor Miina Äkkijyrkkä specializes in building giant cows out of old car parts. Photo via Artrick Playground.
  • The Wikado Playground in Rotterdam, Netherlands is made from old wind turbine blades. Photo via The Coolist.
  • The possibilities for incorporating old tires into playground structures are almost endless. Photos via RelaxShacks.com.
  • OK, this playground isn't real, but if Dutch artist AnneMarie van Splunter gets her way, it might be someday. Photo via Grist.
  • Lions Park playground in Alabama is made from 2,000 recycled steel drums. Photo via Inhabitat.
  • Ugandan Artist Ruganzu Bruno Tusingwire is refashioning water bottles into play structures. Photo via Clutch.
  • Skinners Playground in Melbourne, Australia makes use of old shipping containers. Photo by Inhabitat.
  • In Niamey, Niger, a Spanish collective called Basurama fashioned this playground out of pallets, tires, garbage bags, and plastic drums. Photo by Basurama via Treehugger.
  • This recycled cardboard labyrinth by Brazilian architect Carlos Teixeira made its first appearance at the 29th International Biennial in Sau Paulo. Photo via Inhabitat (cc).

Would you want one of these playgrounds in your neighborhood?

cool playgrounds, environment, green, recycle, playground design