Playgrounds: Reinventing the Square (Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid)

playgrounds exhibit reina sofia

From the early days of The Risky Kids, I’ve been following along the Playscapes blog. I always enjoy seeing the playgrounds they feature from around the world. I usually file the information under “Things I’d Love To (But Probably Never Will) See.”

In May, Paige posted about an upcoming exhibit to be hosted by the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. Playgrounds: Reinventing the Square would be open during the same time we’d be visiting Madrid.

playgrounds reinventing the square

I probably should’ve explained the exhibit to the kids a little better … they we’re quite disappointed to discover that it wasn’t an exhibit of playgrounds they could actually play on. We did have one mortifying moment when they saw a wooden swing in one room and tried to sit on it, only to be yelled at by a museum employee. It was one of those parenting moments when you can see that something bad is about to go down, but you can’t get there fast enough! In their defense, there were other parts of the exhibit that were hands-on, and they couldn’t read the sign in Spanish that said not to touch (it was one of our first days in Spain … they quickly learned exactly what no tocar meant!)

adventure playground reina sofia exhibit

Not the installation my kids used as their own personal playground … but you get the idea.

Besides that particular incident, the exhibit was really interesting. I particularly enjoyed the photographs from Helen Levitt, taken in 1940s New York City, of children playing in the streets. Such a different time!

There was also a room full of original playground blueprints from famed architect Aldo van Eyck.

aldo van eyck playground blueprint

And look at this article from post-WWII England:

playgrounds reina sofia

Yes, we would like an anarchist playground!

adventure playground magazine reina sofia

While it was definitely more interesting for me than the kids, they did enjoy some of the hands-on pieces.

playgrounds exhibit madrid

I’d love to see more exhibits like this in art museums across the United States. I think it’s fascinating to see how playgrounds have evolved, and to ponder how we can reinvent the playground for this generation and beyond.

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Risky Reads: The World Traveler Edition

granada mirador san nicolas

We’ve been home for two weeks now, and we’re still walking around in a fog. We have alternating feelings of happiness at being back home, utter disbelief that we spent an entire month traipsing about Spain, a yearning to go back, and sadness at the rapidly approaching first day of school. I’ve given up at any semblance of a routine, and instead we’re just winging it every day, a fleeting luxury that will soon end. I’m a scheduler by nature, so this is a big stretch for me … but darn if it doesn’t feel good!

The photo above was taken in Granada, Spain. We’d walked through El Albayzín, with its narrow, winding streets, tea shops, and Moorish architecture, to the lookout point (Mirador San Nicolás). From there we had an amazing view of the Alhambra, which we’d spent the day exploring. There was a little outdoor market where artists were selling handicrafts, several bustling cafes, tourists milling about, and kids running everywhere. I’m not sure what this structure is actually for, but all of the kids had decided it was perfect for scaling, sitting on, and jumping from. It wasn’t small, so climbing it was a feat. And if you made it to the top and decided you wanted to jump off? Well, you faced about a 6 foot jump onto a sidewalk or the cobblestone street.

And yet … I didn’t see a single person yell at the kids to be careful or to get off. I didn’t see a single kid get hurt. But I did see lots of jubilant faces and I did hear lots of laughter.

Now that I’m done reminiscing, here are a few things I found around the web that I thought you might find interesting!

In the midst of this lazy, routine-free summer, this is another thing I’m trying to embrace: not squawking at the kids to constantly tidy up or following them around and doing it for them. Sometimes the best and most inspiring play moments come from something that evolves over a few days. So maybe don’t clean up!

I love a good checklist, and this one from the National Trust of 50 Outdoor Activities to do as a child is very inspiring.

There’s still time to get a road trip in before school starts! This fun, interactive map can help you decide where to go based on where you’ll be traveling and the kinds of activities you like to do as a family.

Board games are back! (But did they ever go away?)

It doesn’t look like we’ll make a camping trip happen this summer, but when we do, I’ll definitely use some of the tips in this post on stress-free camping with kids.

You can still find me over at Bedtime Math, along with other fantastic bloggers sharing some really cool activities. Last month we got muddy, cooled off with ice excavations, and made ourselves a sweet treat. The daily math problem is always fun, and Eli loves doing them as we get ready for bed.

For more risky inspiration, follow us on Pinterest and like us on Facebook.  And if you ever see anything you think we’d like, please share it with us!

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Perfect Pop App: Summertime Snacking Made Easy

Pop secret app

    This post is sponsored by Pop Secret Popcorn. All opinions are my own.     It may be summertime, and the livin’ may very well be easy, but that doesn’t mean that the kids don’t have to lift a finger. No, much to their chagrin, I’ve been requiring a little more responsibility from […]

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3 Cultural Differences In Europe That Would Freak Out American Parents

After a long day of sightseeing in Madrid, we made our way to our apartment on the Metro. Madrid’s public transportation system is excellent and easy to use. So easy, in fact, that kids can do it on their own. Nearly every time we used the Metro, we saw kids traveling either alone or in […]

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We’re Back!

Hello friends! We are back from Spain! We had a wonderful and amazing adventure, and I have so many things I want to share with you. While I took the requisite photos of cathedrals and castles, I also took lots of photos of playgrounds and kids at play. It was fascinating to see how play […]

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DIY Geocache Kit

Make a geocache kit

Have you ever tried geocaching? If not, you definitely should! Think of it like a modern day treasure hunt. People hide “caches” in different locations. In order to find these caches, you get the coordinates of the cache’s location and use a GPS to locate it. Once you find it, there’s usually a logbook to […]

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Family Game Night: On the Road!

Best Travel Games for Families

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Games are a big part of our family life, so naturally as we’re preparing for our riskiest adventure yet, I knew we’d want to bring along some games. Of course, the name of the traveling game is packing light, so we couldn’t very well bring along the Catan board or […]

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Risky Reads: The Bonfire Edition

Mike built us a new fire pit last month, so of course we had to break it in right away and make sure it worked. We had a bench the previous owners left behind that was falling apart, so into the fire pit it went! Another neighbor brought over a dilapidated chair. Needless to say, […]

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Free-Range Parenting From the Helicopter

Please join me in welcoming my friend Liz, of Eternal Lizdom, to The Risky Kids today! Liz is a mom of 2 and a fellow blogger. Earlier this year I posed the question: what do you do when you and your spouse disagree on kids’ activities? It’s a question I get asked a lot, and […]

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We’re Off to Spain!

#SixesInSpain

As you read this, we’ll be somewhere over the Atlantic, headed to Madrid! We’re so excited for this trip of a lifetime. We’ll be away for a month, so you’ll notice a change in posting frequency while we’re gone. While I won’t be posting three times a week as usual, I do have some great […]

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