New York, NY
Way to Play
Way to Play, a playful intervention that meets families where they're at and helps them reframe in between places into playful moments. Between work and school, it can be challenging to find the time and space for parents to connect with their kids through play rather than homework and other obligations. By placing simple spray chalked games into high-traffic public spaces between home, work, school and transportation, Way to Play helps parents play with their kids without a trip to the playground.
However, it is not enough to simply put some hopscotch grids on the ground around bus stops and leave them. Provoking play requires surprise and wonder. When playful elements become too familiar they recede into the background and disappear from view. To inspire play, playful elements also need to speak in a meaningful way to the people who encounter them. They need to offer ways to play that feel familiar and inviting.
Way to Play will answer these challenges by developing the games in partnership with kids and parents in the neighborhood through play design workshops with Red Hook schools like PS 15, PAVE Academy Charter School, Summit Academy Charter School, as well as community organizations like the Red Hook Initiative. In these workshops we will work with kids to generate play and game ideas based on their ideas. Kids design their own play all of the time. Through workshops we hope to help celebrate and legitimize the play ideas that kids create. We want Way to Play to offer types of play that reflect the local community. We also want kids and parents to feel ownership of the play ideas when they appear on the street.
To avoid the games becoming just another familiar element of the landscape, we will roll out games on a regular basis. The workshops will help us generate a large number of ideas that we can roll out over several months. We will take the ideas generated in the workshops and create stencils for each game that we can use with spray chalk to quickly lay down professional looking versions of the the game. This will help us keep the games feeling fresh, and hopefully build up a sense of anticipation for new games.
At the end of the project we'll have a set of stencils and games that have been developed and iterated on through community-oriented process. These stencils could be reused in the same location, or brought to other areas where a similar approach can be used to generate new games and play prompts.
- Toni Pizza