The PlayHive: From Your Backyard to the Austin Children’s Museum

The PlayHive is a backyard play structure that anyone with basic carpentry skills can assemble with 2x4s, screws and common DIY tools (a chop-saw, a sander and a cordless drill). It's an intimate space for sharing secrets on the inside and a climbing frame for testing agility on the outside.  We initially designed the structure for a 2010 Bastrop wildfire benefit, hosted by Breed & Co. The PlayHive was displayed in the Breed & Co parking lot, along with play structures by Burton Baldridge  and Pollen Architecture, and tested enthusiastically by Austin’s under-10 crowd.  It was later auctioned off to raise funds for wildfire relief.

After receiving a lot of interest in the design, we made a DIY kit available online here.  The website estimates that there have been 16000 downloads since the plans were uploaded in March 2012!  The PlayHive is created by assembling circular layers of successively shorter 2x4 blocks and the DIY kit contains a set of templates (corresponding to each layer) which help you connect each 2x4 block at the appropriate angle.

Austin Children’s Museum PlayHive

Last year, we were invited by the Austin Children's Museum to create a custom PlayHive for their upcoming ThinkDoMake exhibit.  This version includes a wheelchair-friendly 'tabletop-hive' and a scaled-down version which allows small visitors to the museum to construction their own forms with the same system.

We'll be building the new PlayHive over the next couple of weeks and installing it 'live' at the ThinkDoMake exhibit opening on February 2nd. If you've got little ones who might enjoy this (or even if you don't), please come and give us a helping hand!  Kits will also be available for purchase at the museum. We're hoping to get feedback on lots of PlayHives being built in people's backyards this spring. The exhibit will be up for six months and will be the last before the museum moves into its new home at the Mueller Development.

This entry was written by Lucy on 1/15/2013 at 5:29pm. Bookmark the permalink.
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