The rest of this week has been spent getting together my thoughts on a potential project outline brief for a deliverable due on Monday. One of my biggest aims of the year was to be as prepared as possible and to get my deliverables completed early, to try and alleviate any unnecessary stress. So I managed to upload my project brief yesterday and for the remainder of the post I will show you how I got to this.
As you can see my interest has developed to looking at the playground. The prospect of an "urban playground" in the sense that I want to maximise the time children do spend outdoors to make sure they get enough activity in their day. I have released a survey this week which you can find here. (If you have children under 12, please take 5 minutes to help me with my research!) with a mixture of qualitative and quantitative questions to back up the desk research I have completed to essentially fact check the information I have and see if I can gain further insights with my own objectives in mind.
Before deciding what questions to ask, I thought about the objectives and created a mini research canvas that briefly gave me an idea of what I wanted to find out. (I used this technique during my internship over the summer when I was trying to test some of my assumptions and understand customer expectations). I was curious to find out patterns such as:
- If multiple child families have different decision making processes when purchasing toys for the house than single child families
- If having access to a garden or the size of living location means a child will go out more or less often to play
- If screen devices are ever used for convenience / manipulation / good behaviour etc...
- If I can illicit emotional responses about parental concerns
- To see what benefits parents believe screens have for not just their children, but also within the household and for them
- To find out what toys and games / activities are popular
I am still waiting for results to come back and currently have about 19 responses. But I'd like this to be at about 50 as it is a blanket survey and with some of the quantitative data it might be more meaningful with more responses. However, there are already a few re-occurring themes:
1) Ipad tantrums
I did actually witness a tantrum or two (quite minor tantrum I will add) when the ipad was taken away from my friend's daughter during my observation time. But what was interesting is that it popped up across about 70% of my responses that tantrums was a negative aspect of letting their child use screen based devices, or if not directly mentioning tantrums, behavioural changes, such as not listening or becoming listless.
2. Keeping them subdued...
Which then leads to parental guilt. But families are seemingly busier than ever. The make up of a family household has changed exceptional amounts even in the last 30 years whilst I have been alive. More divorces, less marriages, more single parents, higher costs of living etc... are all contributing factors to a changing family dynamic that makes thing hectic. The perception of danger has increased for children with the increased presence of danger in the media which means that some parents can feel uncomfortable letting their children out to play without supervision so often the children stay indoors whilst household chores etc... get completed and screen time is a convenient option to keep them quiet so the jobs can be completed quicker. But that's bound to leave you with some guilt.
3. Multi-purpose toys for multi child households
Different ages and stages of development, different likes and interests. For many families economically it can be challenging to keep the house running and provide the children with everything they want. In a multi-child household it can mean they all have different interests, so an option to have products that have multiple purposes, so can be used in different ways by different personality types meaning it could potentially cost less economically, take up less space and get them all playing together. It's more likely to result in a decision of a purchase being made.
4. Concern about lack of physical activity
This one is pretty self explanatory, although it did get me thinking about how much activity and to what intensity is deemed "enough".
As with any guideline such as food intake etc.. it really is just that, a guideline as it will differ from person to person. But the general consensus from researching stats from the UK government and the CDC it should consist of:
60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per day, with at least 3 days of vigorous activity per week.
I don't doubt that activity indoors can be classed as moderate to vigorous (dancing games etc...) however, I think the ease of reaching this level of activity would more likely be in an outdoor environment with the freedom and space to do so. Another revealing insight from this research is that children shouldn't spend more than 2 hours inactive unless they are sleeping.
So, how do I maximise the time that children spend outdoors? I posed this question to myself and sketched a few ideas
I am going to continue trying to get more responses for my survey to see if I can find more developing themes.
Whilst I was looking in to contemporary playgrounds this week, I found a few companies I want to look in to further; Yalp, Kompan, Monstrum and Lappset. I also want to look at how play is implemented within schools particularly if I am looking at how to maximise the time children already do spend outside, as perhaps it is something that can be implemented at schools or nurseries.