- Public Space
Cultureghem is a social profit organisation that initiated the KETMET project. It transforms a privately owned, cultural heritage site, Abattoir in Brussels. Every week a team of volunteers and animators roll huge wooden boxes filled with toys, PLAYBOXes, in the large covered public playground. Each PLAYBOX is designed in short dialogue with the kids and families around the site, who use the space as their concrete backyard. In three years time, KETMET evolved from a painted circuit on the 10.000 m2 covered concrete floor, that aimed to inspire players, to a bustling playground filled with unconventional toys, reinvented ball games, kitchens and so much more.
Our pop-up playground was lacking a spot for the youngest kids. Babies, toddlers and infants mostly spend the afternoon sitting on a parent’s lap while big brothers and sisters jolting to discover new things on a weekly basis. We had to invent a PLAYBOX for all under 95 cm. PLEUTERBOX was born.
We invited all the actors in the area who were linked to early childhood education and care for a giant brainstorm: a local daycare centre, a centre that accompanies young parents through the first stage of parenthood, the local government department of youth and education, a kindergarten, teachers and parents.
“It does take a village to raise a child, our tool helps to create this kind of pop-up village”
We collected and presented the little ones with all the material, toys, interventions we could think of and watched them play. We repeated this process on several occasions before deciding what would become part of the new PLAYBOX.
The result: mostly games that stimulate the senses, stimulate and improve motoric skills, reflections and lights. We decided the box should be not one but more boxes. Different modules according to the age and needs of the kids and their mentors, that can be taken out of the box and become boxes themselves. The PLAYBOX itself becomes a place to hide from the outside bustle, a place to just be.
As we want our partners to be able to use the material themselves in their workplace, playgrounds, meeting space, as we aim to share the new tool as much as we can, thus we decided to rethink the way PLAYBOX is moved from one side of the city to the other. We wanted the materials to be transported more easily and independently, hence the new PLAYBOX modules will be driven around the city by electrical bike.
This article belongs to a series of stories about the city at eye level for kids! You can access the full book online in PDF or pre-order your hardcopy to be delivered to your home.Get your book here