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Story 03: Birth of Playspace

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Sidebar: The Giant Crib

Written by Jeri Robinson

THE INITIAL CONCEPT
We wanted to include a giant crib where children could see the view they had had of the world as infants. The crib would be equipped with an oversized busy box, mobile, teddy bear, blanket and cradle gym. Exactly how this would be constructed or programmed was unclear, but we wanted to build it so we could see what kids or adults would do.

R&D WEIGHS IN
The crib would be approximately six by eight feet, the size of a standard sheet of Tri-Wall. For safety reasons it would need to be built of wood, since children might want to climb on it. For this first iteration it needn't be raised, but could be built on the floor with a heavily padded rug to serve as the mattress. One side would be railed like a real crib, with the bars (two-inch dowels) spaced at four-inch intervals. Andy Merriel figured this would give the correct perspective. The other side of the crib would be a painted wall to simulate a nursery crib's bars. One end would be high (the headboard) and the other would be low, approximately eighteen inches. This would be the end where the visitor would enter the crib.

THE REALITY
Although it looks more like a giant playpen, it has universal appeal. Kids of all ages use it, and it has a different feeling when different groups are in it.

Next: Sidebar: Growing Up in the Museum