Two German designers, Claudio Rimmele and Martin Binder, have invented a design for a playground that is safe for children during the coronavirus pandemic.
They combined their last names to create what they call Rimbin, a playground where children can maintain social distancing while still playing with each other. The name is also a combination of the words rim, meaning edge, and bin, meaning container, a reference to the isolated pieces of the playground. They combined their separate experience in design and psychology to figure out this method for children to be able to play and keep social connections.
“This virus really likes people being indoors in an enclosed space for prolonged periods of close face-to-face contact,” William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University, told Business Insider. So far, studies have found transmission outdoors to be rare, though not impossible.
Rimbin is outdoors, and keeps children at a safe distance apart, making it a potential option for children stuck at home. Here’s what it looks like.
Rimbin takes the basic idea of a playground, an outdoor area where kids can use their imaginations and interact with each other, and makes it safer for a pandemic.
Each child has a separate platform to play on, which is a safe distance away from others.
Children from the same household, like siblings, can play on the same platform.
To insure that each platform is only occupied by one child at a time, they each have only one way of entering.
Kids can still see and hear each other.
Shared games can even be played between the two.
They’re also in view of their parents at all times.
For more populated areas, the designer recommends playground supervisors who can enforce time slots in the platforms.
The design also makes use of speaking tubes, which already exist in some playgrounds, for children to communicate with each other.
With the tubes, kids can have conversations without yelling or including their parents in every game.
Designers also noted that the tubes would be placed far enough away from platforms that children wouldn’t be able to touch or lick them.
The modular nature of the design makes it relatively easy to add on more platforms to meet demand.
All the surfaces kids might come into contact with, like handles or tubes, are made of metal, so they can be easily sanitised.
Designers also recommend installing disinfectant dispensers so parents can wipe down areas before and after play.
They have found some creative ways for kids to actually play together without much danger of transmission, like seesaws that interlock between platforms.
To create this concept, the designers say that they first imagined the opposite of what they wanted, an “anti playground.”
An anti-playground would be safe from infection, but no fun to play in. They imagined a sterile, boring space unappealing to children.
They worked backward from there, undoing parts of the anti-playground that they knew wouldn’t work.
They also conducted interviews with parents to learn about specific needs and concerns.
The top concern they found was a desire for kids to have physical activity and get outside.
So, they listened to what parents had to say and took inspiration from nature.
The platform is based on the shape of a water lily.
And, the parks themselves would be filled with greenery.
The designers said that if this concept becomes a reality, they hope to see individual elements of the playground installed in urban areas around the world.