TheThere are a number of salespeople and designers in the entertainment supplier industry who tout themselves as playologists. Don't be fooled by their attempts to market themselves as play experts by the use of this title. There is no degree or study program that leads someone to be designated a playologist. Playologist is a bogus credential. Using this title is only a ploy to make you believe their claims about the products they sell. Few, if any of these self-appointed playologists have done any scientific study of children's or adult play nor read and explored the large body of academic and scientific research and theory on play.

There is a field of academic study that deals with children's play. It is early childhood development. Many educators have Bachelor or Masters Degrees in early childhood development. They understand children's development and play. If you want to learn about children's play, seek out one of them.

Quite honestly, we are surprised by how limited many manufacturers' knowledge of children's play is. Yet, they design and sell equipment that costs as much as a luxury car, sometimes as much as a new home. At those prices, you would expect the designs to work perfectly for the purpose that they are marketed to perform. We have yet to work with a single manufacturer in the entertainment industry who has gotten it 100% right when it comes to any equipment designed for children's play. We always have to work with them to modify their designs for our client's projects, whether it comes to over-design (and cost), meeting the requirements, play value, safety, true usability of the equipment, or even compliance with ADA.

Don't get me wrong, there are some good manufacturers out there. We procure equipment for our clients' projects from many of them. However, we still need to constantly work with them to make the designs truly meet children's needs, be fun for them, have length of stay and repeat appeal, be safe and give our clients the most bang for their bucks.

Rather than get myself in even deeper trouble with some of our entertainment suppliers, let me cite two examples with playground equipment suppliers (by the way, they are honest enough to not call themselves playologists). We constantly encounter playground equipment designed for toddlers with 8 inch high steps. The design standard for adults is 7 inches high. A toddler has a hard enough time negotiating a 6 inch step. An 8 inch step is way too high for a toddler. Have you seen any of those tic-tac-toe panels on playground equipment? Have you ever seen a child play with them for more than 5 seconds, if at all? Of course not. Manufactures put them on preschool equipment. Preschoolers don't play tic-tac-toe. However, the manufactures love to sell them as an add-on, I'm sure, because of their profit margins.