What are we focused on? The children.

The world is currently facing an epidemic crisis of obesity and inactive lifestyles amongst our children. Previous generations grew up in houses that were not filled with distracting electronic devices. Our imaginations were creating fantasylands in the backyard sand boxes and jungle gyms of our low-tech homes. Building educational play structures outdoors and creating a playground of computer applications made to be enjoyed among the trees, rocks and structures of our property. These new methods will bring the virtual world out of the home, which is where children have found much of their stimulation today.

We want to create interactive games that are fun for children as well as parents. As parents, we try to give our children the best possible head start in life. Why not learn with our children about the world outside, as we help them to respect the beauty of nature and the challenges that entertaining physical exercise can bring

Kids spend more time watching TV than they do in class (1,500 hours of TV per year vs. 900 hours in school)….. The iPad is interactive, for the most part, rather than passive. Instead of just staring motionless at TV, kids could be solving puzzles, actively playing games, typing, drawing and other activities.” — Is the iPad a healthy *replacement* for TV?, by Mike Elgan, May 7, 2011

What are we doing? Asking the children.GenZplay currently has an online forum where we ask children and parents what they would like to see in their backyards for outdoor play equipment. The children create ideas and reply to other ideas on this forum. We are taking the business out of play and putting the social aspect of design and creativity to work among the young minds that can best create it.

“A child sees everything, looks straight at it, examines it, without any preconceived idea; most people, after they are about eleven or twelve, quite lose this power, they see everything through a few preconceived ideas which hang like a veil between them and the outer world.” –Olive Schreiner

How will we get them out of the house? Make the outdoor systems more enjoyable than being inside.We can get the children out of the home, away from the gaming consoles, and learning about nature. A movie by Frontline, called “Growing up online” was recently on the PBS channel. They interviewed teachers about the interaction with children in the classrooms of today. The biggest finding was that the teachers could no longer just teach, but they had to entertain in order to get the kids attention. We have to make the world that surrounds them more entertaining then the virtual world built into our television sets. Exercise, treasure hunt, educational, and nature games can entertain and be a valuable learning tool. Imagine an interactive story with many possible outcomes that takes place in your own backyard using the trees, plants and structures within. We are creating it as you read this.

“Overnight, a team transformed the stairs leading out of the Odenplan subway in Stockholm, Sweden, into a giant functioning piano keyboard – much like the piano made famous in the Tom Hanks movie Big. Applying pressure on each step played a musical note. Commuters soon opted for the intriguing new stairway and enjoyed making musical movements as they ascended up and down the scale. The car company found 66% more people than normal chose the musical stairs over the escalator.” – by Claire Bates, Oct. 2009

When will this technology be available? Today.This technology is available now. For years, we have been automating homes and installing gaming systems. Why can’t we install gaming and exercise systems in our own backyard? In addition, music stimulates the brain, the emotions, and the body simultaneously, so lets also take advantage of one of the simplest pleasures we can give and install some speakers. There is nothing stopping us from creating a new generation of fitness games. Our imagination brings the ideas to life. If you can dream it, we can most likely build it.

There are manufacturers that are creating the future wave of playground equipment. The ordinary slide, monkey bars and merry-go-round are still a part of the play area, but there are so many new and creative ideas, the new exercise structures are being built to stimulate children’s brains as well as exercise their bodies.

Why are we doing this? Because it’s fun for our children and for us.There is a constant debate about the effect of technology on our kids and their futures. We believe that they should all know how to spell, learn arithmetic and be taught proper grammar. We also believe these are important aspects of their education, but the lessons are much easier and quicker to learn with new technology, as we watch the focus of education slowly evolving. Did anybody ever think that our kids would be carrying a laptop computer to school and uploading their video’s to Facebook during break periods?

These new educational practices are now being focused towards the adaptation of technology. The iPad is not only becoming a part of our schools, but it is becoming the new tool of doctors; it is used by engineers to verify building design’s and it’s even in the hands of your local Mercedes salesman. Steve Jobs had a vision of a simple hand-held device that played music. It’s now a device that not only holds your music, it holds your videos, your pictures, your calendar, a GPS, and you can even place phone calls with it.

As parents, we have to make a decision as to how much gaming and television our children should be exposed to. One of the lessons we’ve learned growing up, is that what you keep from a child is usually what they end up wanting to try, or wanting the most. We can’t stop the progression of technology, and since the Internet, the Computers, and the Social Media are becoming a staple of society, the children are going to be right there growing up with it, and hindered if they haven’t been exposed to it.



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