Our concept is a simple one - combine the benefits of physical play with systems that facilitate environmental education. In doing so we aim to instil better understandings in current and future populations of our relationship the natural world.
We achieve this through provision of play and exercise equipment enhanced with systems that harnesses users physical activity energy, and use that power to sustain a variety of hydroponic and conventionally grown crops. These playground gardens have been researched and designed for schools and communities in India to impart and instil in participants, older and younger, privileged and underprivileged, knowledge and understanding about STEM and STEAM infused environmental education and sustainability practices in fun and interactive ways.
Playponics provides kinaesthetic learning opportunities across STEM subjects, with environmental education and sustainable practices at their core
For example, the Playponics team have demonstrated that children riding seesaws fitted with pumps can transfer nutrient rich water around playground gardens to feed hydroponic crop growing frames. This user engagement with the exercise equipment enables participants to see technical and natural processes in action, as they grow and learn about the rewards of fresh and healthy crops. In this way seesaws, swings, roundabouts, and a range of exercise equipment can connect to appropriate and simple enabling technologies to sustain a wide variety of produce.
Our focus is on the kinds of child and adult education that lead to more sustainable societies. To positively impact on health, nutrition, and to augment the taught curriculum, especially in underprivileged societies. To help tackle current and potential over- consumption and waste issues we envisage a worldwide network of Playponics installations that empower people with the knowledge to make informed decisions about the ways we behave and consume.
Playponics crosscuts a number of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals including –
Playponics hopes to inspire more implicit understandings of our relationship with the natural world and thus positively impact upon our patterns of consumption and waste
The project has been funded by Sheffield Hallam University's (SHU) Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) and the Expanding Excellence England (E3) programme. A team of design researchers from the Lab4Living is working in collaboration with Ativa, a design consultancy based in New Delhi, and local businesses across India.
Visit our setup currently on display at India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road. This exhibit is installed until the 14th GRIHA Summit on the 15th and 16th of December.