From the renderings of Pallet Playhouse it was hard to know what to expect on Saturday when I joined Steve Walker and his two boys, Cole and Gage, at StoreFrontLab. Steve explained to me that he wanted to spend the morning facilitating a kids-oriented charrette for exploring their own play structure designs. Rows of stacked palettes, painted red, sat in the corner. Then other kids showed up and the activity exploded.
The kids seemed to know immediately what to do; they found a spot along the table and began taping together the scaled pieces of foamcore that represented palettes. I was surprised by how quickly they were able to connect the idea of making scale models to the actual palette construction. We had discussions regarding access into the playstructures, the number of levels that could be accommodated under the ceiling height, and allowing enough access around each structure. They wanted to see their models in the scale model of the space.
Once their models were completed, the kids were eager to understand the joinery of the palette system. We demonstrated marking off places to drill, the use of a power drill, and showed the kids how to screw in lag bolts with a rachet. Much of the assembly of the structure was then completed by the adult volunteers through the course of the weekend.
I’m excited to see what additions children will make to this armature next week during the Palette Playhouse’s open hours. We'll be providing materials and tools, the rest will be up to their imagination. Be sure to stop by!