December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 19

Pub Name: PRM 2.19 x 9.88

National Institute for Play (NIFP).
He's solidified his reputation in the
industry as a skilled marketer, product innovator, motivational speaker,
award-winning playground designer
and children's advocate for safe, creative, inclusive and fun play.
Safety First
Norquist has seen a lot of new playground products and amenities
come down the pike, but he cites the
now-common use of safety surfacing
at playgrounds as the most critical
innovation by far in modern play. Indeed, the most common playground
injuries result from falls (40 percent
of the estimated 250,000 injuries reported annually), and organizations
like the Consumer Products Safety
Commission and ASTM have been
working since the early 1980s to establish guidelines for impact absorption of playground surfaces.
Beyond physical safety, Norquist
also makes a point to mention the
cognitive impact of play and how
that relates to healthy development
in children. " When we study play in
the field of child development, we
learn about the powerful physical,
social, cognitive and emotional skills
obtained through a regime of free,
unobstructed play, " he says. Children who are exposed to regular sessions of free play tend to test higher
on IQ tests and are better learners,
" but one of the most important findings is how bad play deprivation, the
lack of outdoor free play, can be on
an individual, " Norquist continues.
He cites studies by Dr. Stuart Brown
of the National Institute for Play,
which have shown the negative effects play-deprived animals show in
a laboratory setting. Animals that
are restricted from free play are less
able to avoid aggression or social	

ize comfortably. " In other words,
play deprivation can result in severe
mental illness or even much worse, "
Norquist warns.
Making Free Play Possible
In light of such research and considering Norquist's personal attachment to the joy of play, he's also
devoted a large chunk of his professional career to developing play systems and equipment that challenge
and excite children. Back in the
1980s, Norquist worked on Columbia Cascades' custom PipeLine and
TimberForm playgrounds. While at
GameTime in the 1990s, he helped
design the BigFoot slide, featuring
three different sliding experiences.
He also worked with the GameTime
design team to help pioneer lifelike
rock climbing experiences at playgrounds in the MegaRock and WallCano systems and, most recently, a
system called Ionix that merges science with light and shadow play.
Inclusive playgrounds are also on
Norquist's radar as he works to develop new ways for children of all
abilities to play together and get parents involved in their children's play
experiences. Currently, he's working
with Dr. Brown to develop a swing
designed to facilitate greater bonding
between parents and children.
Even with more than 30 years
in the business of play, it seems
we've but scratched the surface of
Norquist's unique, innovative talent
and passion for the industry. " Watch
out, " he says, " we have a bunch of really cool new inventions in the works
and soon coming to a playground
near you. " 
Samantha Bartram is the Associate Editor
of Parks & Recreation Magazine (sbartram@
nrpa.org).

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Parks & Recreation

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December 2014 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of December 2014 - Parks & Recreation

December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 1
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 2
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 3
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 4
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 5
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 6
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 7
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 8
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 9
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December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 11
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 12
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 13
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 14
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December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 18
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 19
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December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 21
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 22
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