Lessons from Scandinavia


The team at Jupiter Play are a diverse crowd who have had lots of experiences working all over the world. Three of our team have experienced living in Scandinavia which has really provided a completely different outlook on play, as a role in children’s development and also on how to design play spaces.

Kevin Causer, Lead Designer says, “There is a real cultural difference between the UK and Sweden, where I lived. Families spend more time outdoors, we saw many pre-schools where children were outdoors all day, even for nap time! In terms of design we found that every play area was unique, either by working with the location or creating an identity of its own. Less attention is placed on formal pathways and edging, it is more focused on the journey of play and routes to exploration.”

In the publication Science of Play: How to build playgrounds that enhance children’s development by Susan G Solomon it describes the playgrounds as a reflection of societies values and attitudes. Countries in Scandinavia view children as the responsibility of the collective and therefore families feel more confident to allow children to go and explore and have greater self-reliance.

So which approaches can we learn from our Nordic friends?

  1. Formality is disregarded in favour of playful and unpredictable design approaches
  2. Focus is always on the child experience, not on fear of anti-social behaviour and maintenance
  3. The design leads over quantity of equipment – focus is on an overall aesthetic and play experience that works and truly benefits the child.
  4. Spaces designed for families, to lunch, picnic and stay!



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