Fauxist 2011 Space Playground Design: Goulburn West Primary School
Posted by Regrette Etcetera on July 1, 2009
These are the first space playgrounds kids have ever designed on Earth. Kids in our playground will be weightless and will float around. We are the Hovell and Hume groups at the Goulburn West Primary School in Goulburn, NSW, Australia working with ex-students, the Fauxists.
In August 2007, working with two classes, ‘5 Yellow’ and ‘3a Fishes’ we made a small presentation about space playgrounds, settlement and our ideas, and then spent the next 2 hours with the children drawing, colouring, cutting, gluing our fantastic space playgrounds, and then writing about our ideas, dreams, desires.
The Kids and their Space Playground Equipment
The kids flowered and produced multiple designs, ideas and problems- “What about toilets in space?”, “But slippery-dips won’t work there, right…?” and expanded Our own thinking about the possibilities of Free Space. In a flurry of paint, tape, paper, it was as if we were on the surface of Mars with a new species of small aliens, furiously building what they needed to survive on arrival. What fun!
Some examples of the designs: 9y.o Aliyah’s “Flashing Tube Playground” 11y.o Chris’s “Play-Ship”- An example of the subsuming of priorities and design space for play. 10y.o Janie’s “Moon Playhouse”- a meta-playground of multicelled rooms and environments- shifting and changeable spaces “so you can visit your friends’ playgrounds and all breathe different coloured air”. 12y.o Luke’s “Pressure play-room”
We also had the future space colonists come up with a number of “Guiding Principles” for future design:
1). We will have a big playground with a small playground inside it. The big playground will give us room to play, and the small one will feel safer.
2). Safety is very important. There will be padding to minimize ‘bonks’ with things and other people. Things must stick out so you can grab them to slow yourself down. These must be strong enough not to break.
3). Tag should be OK with no rule changes, but freeze tag won’t work because frozen people will float around.
4). We want a circle thing like where the Skylab astronauts played.
5). We can have enough money to give some to the parents too.
6). We imagine ourselves playing with aliens, and will need to understand what they want to play with too.
Space Play- ITEMS AND DESIGNS- Descriptions
Using the starting statements “For the space playground I made an…” & “When I am in space…”, we all designed specific play environments & items of equipment, and talked about how we would enjoy them. Here are some of the children’s ideas, stories and reports.
Mircea and Eden
We are going to put a water
fountain in space. It shoots
out into space from the ship.
You would have a
machine tied on your back with
a propeller to help you move
around. It could get you
places really fast. There is a
little handle in front of you so
that you could change
direction. We would play
darts in space and the
darts would go forever or next
to the fountain. We
would stick to the walls with
magnets in our mouths.
by Hannah Globus
When you are up in space
you will float around in space
and do everything in space and slow motion.
If I was in space I would play
Astronauts and Rich People. It would
be hard because you float
around. I would like to
exercise by around the wall, running really
fast. I would bounce from wall
to wall like a zig zag . We
would play “Eat the Food” by
just making it float. You
would try to float to it and
catch it in your mouth. You
could slide food into a friend’s
I would try to get into my
bubble that floats around, it’s
really fun. It would just float
and bounce off the wall.
People could give me a push
and play with me in the ball. I
could spin. If I bumped the
side I would go up fast. I
would go bouncing all around
the room in all directions. It
will never pop. It is clear red.
I could have a friend in the
bubble with me. Friends and Bubbles could
bounce against each other.
It’s a barbecue on a floater.
It needs to land sometimes. It
has lots of brakes, it has bars
that go down to the ground and
then slide down. You can get
off the barbecue and then you
just go up. When you want to
use it you can use a remote
control to bring the floater that
can carry anything back to you,
like burgers or potatoes or drinks or
I would use a race car with
very tight straps in space. I
would hold the car on a track
with magnets in our mouths.
The track could be free floating and spinning in
Space and bend and shrink.
You would ride on the
back face of the race car. If you
wanted to get off there would
be a tube to jump up so that
you could get off. My race car
would be huge. It will
have a very strong motor so
that it can go fast in only one
In my playground, there is a machine that can
make things. It can make
cookies, computers and stuff.
I would go in a tank for fun and tests. I
would play checkers and chess.
I would play with floating up in the
There would be a hula hoop
that holds on to your head and
spins you around and around.
There would be animals that
you could throw to make art and
you could color on both sides
of the paper at the same time.
You could have a
trampoline that you are
attached to. You could have a
trampoline attached to the
bottom and the top and you
could bounce between them.
You could boing off the walls
and move like a dolphin.
If you rode a bike up in
space you would go to
nowhere. You would need a
helmet, without it you
wouldn’t have any air.
I was in space once. I
floated on a sequin.
I cloned my self for ever and
played with my clones and
we all had the same gold spacesuits.
Many open-ended and amorphous designs that featured adaptable/shifting components, aesthetics etc. The fluid and often jolting incorporation of daily life- food, rest, sexuality etc.- into the playspace designs, and the use of fantastic organisms to enhance play and life in play-space.
The student designers came up with cutting edge, imaginative ideas, and we all learnt a lot about the true possibilities of space, play, and Utopia. It all went wonderfully, except when Luke ate the “blueprint” for the “weightless ball pit/sandpit-cloud room” that Racheal drew so well… And one elaborate piece of space playground equipment collapsed before a photo could be taken. Obviously, this equipment, designed for weightlessness, couldn’t be used in the gravity environment of the school. Every design was awarded a particular prize, for example the “Most Glamorous Exterior”. We issued Fauxist Patents (to prevent NASA from capitalizing on our designs etc.).
Introducing ideas of cloning, genetic engineering, and the opportunities they provide in space really had the kids thinking, we stuck mainly to pet ‘animals’ but the kids took it in every direction- notable examples being Janie’s “Bubbling Elephant” (which breathed bubbles for her playground), and Stacey’s “Trampoline Stingray” (self-explanatory).
By treating students as capable and cutting-edge thinkers and designers, and by not ‘dumbing-down’ the contemporary issues of the militarization of space, GE, and global capital, We believe that we side-step many of the restrictions of their school curricula, which is evidenced in their excitement and sheer producitivity.
One small stop for the Fauxist Nomadic Free School Caravan, one giant heap for government education.
Possible improvements to group work
Combinations of differing age groups to stimulate one another and aid in building complicated designs. Designing space suits, space foods, etc. Exploring the use of differing formats- dioramas, collage, performance, reenactment etc. to explore space play. Many designers included cartoon/pop culture characters or celebrities, and television scenarios- like Barbie, Barney, or Baywatch’s David Hasselhoff, and We have found this an effective way to help imaginings of life in a radical future, and a way to critique the value systems of such productions.
KIDS IN SPACE DEATH REALM SPARKLE SURVIVAL WITH UNIQUE PLAYGROUND DESIGNS OF THANKLESS & SOUNDLESS LOVE.
For more photographs and examples of children’s space designs, theory developed out of our experiences in schools, or if you would like the Fauxists to come to your school, university, workplace, children’s party etc- write to:
Fauxists International: Fauxists in Space Division.
or leave a comment with your contact details.
Sample lesson plans are also available.