Technology Integration: The Future of Play
The integration of technology and play is a winning combination. Look at me! I am standing under the newly installed Lappset Sona Interactive dance and play arch at JFK Park in Reynoldsburg, OH, the birthplace of the tomato (notice the custom flooring with the tomato). When I visited our good friends at Midstates Recreation, I had the opportunity to visit this playground and see firsthand the kids' excitement when playing on it. Their sheer joy and laughter were proof that integrating technology and play is a winning combination.
Bringing play from the digital world and the physical world together
We all know that kids are spending countless hours in front of a screen, not only for gaming and social media, but due to COVID, many kids are attending school virtually. What will the future be like for kids if they are addicted to their screens and don’t want to go outside and play? What will draw them outside to play and have fun without being tethered to a device? Do we simply take away all technology from kids and force them to be outside? We all know that is not a solution. However, there is another way! How about bringing together the digital world with the physical world? That’s exactly how the team at Yalp Interactive thinks about interactive play. Yalp Interactive playgrounds are designed to be fun, encourage creativity, promote physical activity, have the ability to “level up” in the games, and get kids outside.
And, since the interactives are connected to the cloud, users can track usage data statistics, upload new games, and adjust settings remotely. As technology continues to advance across the globe, there is a growing trend for cities to become SMART cities. This includes having wifi hotspots and technology integration in public spaces, including parks. Recently, the Luskin Center at UCLA published SMART Parks: A Toolkit. This toolkit is aimed at “park managers, designers, advocates, and anyone who wishes to learn how technology can be incorporated into parks.” While there may be questions and reservations about integrating technology into public spaces, there is no doubt this trend will continue to grow.
Play is fundamental to child development
While we can’t fully predict the future, we know that play will continue to be a fundamental part of child development. In fact, play is something we all need regardless of our age. That is why it is imperative that we look at how technology can be used to encourage kids to get outside, play longer, and come back outside again. The Yalp Interactive playgrounds are the perfect solution!