When you think of a ‘playground’, you think of children. But that’s not necessarily the case for the Imagination Playground, an installation consisting of an unstructured play area for the entire family, which has since become a crowd favourite at monthly Car Free Sundays.
An innovative playground equipment system conceptualized in the U.S., Imagination Playground was brought to Singapore by the Programme Innovation department of Sport Singapore for use at its various outreach events. Samantha Low, an executive in the team, tells ActiveSG more.
“I’m in the team who coordinates with the multiple agencies involved [in Car Free Sunday],” said Low. “Our aim is really to bring life to the area.”
“We were initially looking into [the area of] children’s development skills, and how we could hone these skills at a younger age,” she shared.
Taking up an area of up to nine by nine metres, the Imagination Playground consists of foam mats accompanied by foam blocks of different shapes and sizes, which encourages participants to tap on their imagination to create a playground of their own.
This concept of free play, with the help of the giant building blocks, is beneficial for the development of a child’s cognitive, social, physical, and motor skills – a fact that is emphasized to parents and any participants at the Imagination Playground.
“[Using the foam blocks of] different shapes and sizes, children get creative along the way,” she said.
While the children might have the most to gain from the activity, it doesn’t stop parents or even grandparents from joining in on the fun either.
Low related that parents could be there to provide guidance or serve as a playmate: “The Imagination Playground targets audiences from cradle to the grave. You don’t need to limit [the activity to] any age.”
“There were even times where grandparents participated as well, which was very heartening to see. We were very happy that three generations were involved and were able to participate [together as a family],” she shared.
In fact, Imagination Playground’s multi-generational appeal is the exact reason why it’s a unique feature in monthly Car Free Sundays – the set-up has even become a familiar sight to participants, particularly children.
“Car Free Sunday [seeks] to expose people to different activities. The aim is to be able to participate regardless of your fitness level,” said Low.
“Even though we have sports programming for children, it’s only targeted at children. As for adults, it’s the dance fitness or functional fitness [activities] – these are very specific,” she pointed out.
“However for Imagination Playground, it can be 3G [three generations] – the entire family can be involved,” Low continued.
Since the initiation of Car Free Sunday early last year, the event has drawn an increasing number of participants with each edition, all in the spirit Sport Singapore’s motto of living better through sport.
“More people are aware that we have monthly activations every last Sunday of the month. In terms of engagement, more people are bringing down their families, [so] it’s really good to see,” she shared.
Looking forward, Low expressed her team’s plans to continue innovating for outreach events such as Car Free Sundays, in order to keep participants engaged. She was confident that the Imagination Playground would not be the last of such unique installations.
“On our part, it’s more of introducing new parts, new ideas, so that people will be more attracted [to it],” she stated.
“We want people to look forward to the last Sunday of the month, to bring their families down, or even their friends to come down. Have fun, break a sweat, and to be active,” she concluded.
You can visit the Imagination Playground at ActiveSG’s Car Free Sunday event each last Sunday of the month. The next one is happening on 26 March, at the Civic and Central Business District!