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Archive for the ‘Children’s play areas’ Category

Welcome to Palmer’s Hotel for Children!

The Palmers lived in a 20-plus room, white-framed house at the edge of Valparaiso, Indiana. Its three-story structure stood at the top of a long, hilly lane surrounded by tall, sturdy shade trees. (Perfect for climbing, by the way.) At least three dormers rose from both the front and back sides of the roof.

 

Seven days a week, the place became “Palmer’s Hotel for Children.” And, it served as a fun and safe place to “visit” for young people between 3 months and 13 years of age.

 

The “Palmer’s Hotel” had every amenity that a child could possibly wish for:

 

  1. Huge, grassy back yard with lots of room to roam.
  2. Dogs, cats, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, goat, lamb, ponies.
  3. Swing sets and Jungle Jims.
  4. Roomy, enclosed tree house with two sturdy ladders, with deep and generous steps.
  5. Basketball hoops, small softball diamond, badmitten net, crochet sets.
  6. Moveable play house.
  7. Vegetable garden and strawberry patch.
  8. Fruit trees and berry bushes: apple, peach, apricot; blueberry, blackberry, raspberry.
  9. Grape arbor.
  10. Two large plastic wading pools and long garden hose for hot days of summer.
  11. Small wagons, carts, tricycles, 2-wheel bikes.
  12. Two sandboxes.
  13. Games and more games.
  14. Boys and girls toy chests and stuffed animal baskets.

 

Oh, did I mention food? Sandwiches (your choice of filling and bread-spread); veggie sticks, homemade cookies, juices.

 

Of course, “Palmer’s” best amenity was Mr. and Mrs. Palmer. The adopted grandparents that every child would dream up for himself or herself.

 

The biggest treat was staying over night. My sister and I got to do that only four or five times. Usually, while our parents attended a special Saturday evening function, in the community or in Chicago.

What was so great about a sleep-over?

 

Saturday nights were party time at the Palmer’s Hotel for Children.

 

  1. Walt Disney movies, board games, card games, floor games.
  2. Huge bowls of freshly-popped corn setting on every table.
  3. Choices of fruit juices and Kool Aid flavors.
  4. Home-made Kool-Aid Popsicles.
  5. Ice cream and cake or cookies to celebrate a child guest’s birthday.
  6. Cozy-like, dorm-style sleeping space – including a doll or teddy bear if you needed one.
  7. Pals – other guests – to play with.
  8. Lots of arts and crafts supplies to make things to take home.

 

One Saturday afternoon, Mr. Palmer wanted to talk with my dad when he dropped off my sister and me. Mr. Palmer asked Dad to come by at a later date, and give him an estimate on painting the exterior of that huge house.

 

My dad offered to volunteer a paint crew to do the job. The terms: Mr. Palmer would purchase the main paint supplies. And, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer would feed the crew some lunch on paint day.

 

The date was scheduled. I got to go along and “carry water” to the men. We all ate lunch at the picnic tables where we children ate our snacks when we were “visiting.”

 

Silently, I promised that, once I could drive, I’d go by The Palmer’s Hotel and volunteer to help out with their young guests. (I did several times.)

 

Silently, I promised that, when grown up, I’d go by and volunteer my adult skills to help out once in a while. (I did once.)

 

Eventually, I entered the IBPAT apprenticeship program, and began my painting career. I promised that I’d go by and volunteer my painting skills and crew to repaint the Palmer’s Hotel for Children.

 

It was that great of a place. Mr. and Mrs. Palmer were that great of a couple. Final Note: By the time I started painting for a contractor, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer had closed down their hotel for children. And, they had retired.

 

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All grown up now? Who can you help that enriched your life as a child?

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob” today.
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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PAINTING THINGS FOR SMOKEY THE BEARS

SmokeyBears
Since childhood, I’ve been collecting “Smokey the Bear” stuffed animals. The collection includes two first editions. One made in the late 1960s, the other in the early 1970s.

 

All except two of the forest ranger bears were manufactured by Knickerbocher in New York, New York.

 

Over the years, the “Smokeys” received treatment deserving of such “naturalists.” They had their own custom-designed furniture, crafted from oak and pine woods.

 

. Park bench – 20-inches high by 36-inches long by 8-inches deep.

Description: Painted forest green, semi-gloss latex, Mfgr,: Sherwin-Williams; “Smokey” belt buckle etching on front cross-brace of back, 50 percent grey matte acrylic, Mfgr.: Liquitex.

 

. Side chair – 18-inches high by 10-inches wide by 8-inches deep.

Description: Clear primer/sealer, low-gloss clear polyurethane finish, Mfgr.: Minwax. Carved poinsettia back panel, painted crimson red and tinted forest green acrylic, Mfgr.: Liquitex.

 

. Bunk bed – 21-inches long by 12-inches wide by 18-inches high.

Description: Mattresses, posts painted Bright white semi-gloss latex; Mfgr.: Sherwin-Williams. Curved headboards, painted light bark brown background, with the “Smokey” logo name painted custom-tinted blue-grey acrylic; Mfgr.: Liquitex.

 

Young neighbor children liked to play “gently” with a few of the “Smokeys,” while their mothers stopped by to discuss a problem with someone.

 

Most of the Smokey the Bears sit safely, in a display wall cabinet.

 

On Halloween, “Smokey No. 7”, a custom designed, handcrafted 36-inch high model, sits in a white captain’s chair at the front door. Holding a large aluminum bowl of trick-or-treat candy in his lap. Even the teenagers grin, when they see “Smokey,” and they help themselves to two or three snack-sized candy bars.

 

In December of 2014, six of my “Smokey the Bears” were donated to Goodwill Industries for a fundraiser. They were clear-wrap sealed in pairs, to generate higher prices.

 

A running search on e-Bay and Google+ for another original edition of “Smokey the Bear” is checked at least monthly. Like with any collectible, the “Smokeys” turn up some interesting people. And stories.

 

My most recently purchased “Smokey,” circa 1975, came from the Los Angeles area. A lady who was once in the film industry. I’m waiting for a “Smokey” to arrive from California. Given as a birthday gift to a gold record musician, the 1972 bear is being given as a birthday gift to me.

 

Per agreement with the seller, this “Smokey the Bear” will remain with the rest of the group here. And, the entire group will be donated to a Central Indiana community’s local historical museum. “When the time comes…”

 

Bears, it may be time to build a bigger park bench.

 

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“Only you can prevent forest fires.”     “Only you can prevent wildfires.”

                                                                                                                  …. “Smokey the Bear”

Note: Smoke the Bear is the trademark property of the National Park Service.

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Have a safe September, everyone. And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

SHORT STROKES: CREATIVE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN

1. An inn in the southeast installed a “rock climbing” wall, to keep active 2-3 year olds occupied. Its features include:

A. Solid oak construction, dimensions: 4-feet high, 9 feet long, 3 inches thick.

B. “Wall” screwed into 2-inch by 4-inch wall joists, 8-inches apart, behind finished drywall.

C. Random rock pattern hand-painted on oak surface, then clear, vinyl-coated.

D. “Rock ledges,” 4-inches wide by 6-inches deep, formed from heavy, smooth rubber tires.

E. Numerous vinyl-coated gripper handles placed on either side of each “ledge.”

F. Grey foam pad, 10-feet long, 8-feet wide, 3-inches thick, stretches out at foot of wall.

 
A retired playground designer created the wall. At the request of the inn’s owners: his sons and daughters-in-law. The need for a safe, indoor “energy” outlet apparent. Between them, they had five children.

A sturdier “rock climbing wall, for older/larger children, ages 4-6, is under construction. Completion date: October 2015.

 

2. A rescued 110-room Days-Inn features a do-it-yourself kitchen and snack bar, for children 5 to 10 years old. It features:

A. Child/young junior sized appliances – all with clear, see-through doors, globes, surfaces.

     . Refrigerator    . Smoothie/Blender    . 2-Burner, built-in cooktop

     . Microwave      . 4-Slice toaster, battery-operated

     . Portable mixer, battery-operated

     . Utensils: coated, non-sharp, non-serrated.

B. All food products are fresh, frozen or baked.

C. All foods are gluten-free, no-sugar/no-salt added.

D. Cost: Free – all food products, cooking privileges, and “classes.”

E. Hours: 9-10:30 am, 12-1:30 pm, 4-5:30 pm, 6 days a week.

F. Cooking and baking “classes” – supervised assistance – 5 days a week.

G. Kitchen is supervised by at least two hotel kitchen workers, specially trained for the job.

H. “Rain days” – Innkeeper’s version of his “snow days” in Michigan when schools were closed.

 

3. A third-generation fishing cottage business, on Lake Michigan’s western shore, has its own mini-ice fishing “pond,” for guests 4-8 years old.

A. A 70-feet diameter shallow fishing pond is frozen solid, November to February.

B. Eight, 2-person fishing “huts” are pulled onto the ice.

C. Construction: One-half inch plywood sides, floor, roof, joist frame; shingled roof, insulated walls; 2 eye-level windows/cased; wood doors.

D. Paint/Exteriors: Walls: Color- Bark brown, satin finish; Doors: Color – Bright red, high gloss finish. Both products: Sherwin-Williams Heavy-Duty latex.

E. Interiors: Built-in double seat; fire-proof portable heater/battery; clear plexi-6-inch high encasement around fishing “hole” in floor.

F. Cost: Free to child guests.

G. Fishing contest: Alternate Saturday afternoons, November – February. Free: Guests. Open to local children, 4-8 ($2.00 entry).

 

A Central Florida M.D. told me that he used to take his family to the Lake Michigan site. “We were young, and on a tight budget. Natives of the Sheboygan area. What you’d call ‘millennials with a marriage license, and kids.’”

 

He oriented me to the following 21st Century hospitality facts about millennials:

 

1. Millennial guests may have children, too.

2. Millennial guests expect the hotels where they stay to accommodate their children.

3. Millennial guests expect the hotels to provide their children with qualitative, safe, and age-appropriate full services. Commensurate with those offered to the millennials themselves.

4. Millennial guests’ budgets come in all sizes, and credit cards with all levels of buying power.

 
A hotel/facility painter’s millennial tips:

 

1. Treat millennial guests well, like guests in any age group deserve to be treated.

2. Treat the children of millennials special. Like guests in any adult age group want their children/ grandchildren/ great-grandchildren to be treated. Whatever the children’s ages.

3. Remember, the millennial guests’ children are away from home. In a different environment.

4. Say “Hi” to millennial guests’ children. Smile naturally. Look them in the eye.

5. Ask them what they like about your hotel, and their stay there. Ask nothing personal.

6. Encourage them, from a distance, to watch you paint. Ask, “Have you ever painted anything?”

7. Chat briefly with them, while you work. Tell them what you are doing. Point out to them the WET PAINT sign you’ve posted nearby. Explain why wet paint should never be touched.

8. Encourage them to ask you a few questions. Always answer them, briefly and respectfully.

9. After a reasonable time, encourage them to move on. To check back in with parents or family.

10. Say goodbye. “Thanks for stopping.” “Have a great vacation.” “Have a good trip home.”

 

Recently, I stopped to watch a hotel painter. He was applying a bright cranberry exterior enamel to a park bench in a children’s outdoor play area. Several children and a young family watched him work.

 

Everyone else moved on eventually. I asked the painter if he enjoyed his “little audiences.” He grinned. “They make my days. Make it all worthwhile.”

 

Yeah. “Go ahead and make my day.”  Clint Eastwood.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.” Copyright 2015. Robert Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting Them: Children’s Play Areas: Keeping Them Fun

When children play on playground equipment, all that is on their minds is to have fun. The condition, color, or durability of the coating on the equipment’s surface does not matter to them. That is left up to the adults to figure out.

 

Regardless of who does what, “Mother Nature” is always hard at work. Regularly, it adds to the maintenance needs of anything outside that requires painting. Because of this choosing a paint, that will stand up to the elements, is the key step in creating a well-groomed, and safe, play area.

 

Most playgrounds have multiple types of equipment. Therefore, they may require several kinds of finishes.

 

A list of some “recommended coatings,” and the surfaces for which they are best suited.

 

  1. Solid and semitransparent oil or latex stain. Apply to pressure treated dimensional lumber and sheeting materials. Use brush and or roller to apply.

 

  1. Urethane color and clear coat. Apply to tubular ferrous and non ferrous metals. Coating provides superior abrasion resistance and protection from the UV rays of the sun. Use spray finishing only for the finest application.

 

  1. Enamel or Alkyd paint. Apply to wood and metal substrates. They are an excellent substitute for Urethane, though not quite as hard a finish. Use brush, roller and spray methods.

 

  1.  Ammonia-based acrylic primer sealer and a Urethane finish. Apply to rigid hard plastic objects. Spray finishing is recommended.

 

A Note on: Surface preparation

 

Abrasion is a major consideration when painting something that children will play on.

 

To guarantee the adhesion of a finish: Make sure to remove all loose pre-existing paint. Power tooling is the easiest method. Use electric sanders and grinders to help create a smooth surface prior to priming.

 

Be sure to use a tack cloth to remove all dust, especially when spray painting. If the surface is ultra smooth, like with metal tube construction, use an adhesion promoter or primer. These products are designed specifically to bind with the chosen finish paint system.

 

A Note on: Protecting your finish

 

Even when your finish paint is applied, the finish must be protected from the elements. This step will further guarantee a lasting finish.

 

To achieve, apply a clear coat. This product will protect the surface from moisture, uv rays of the sun, abrasion from wind, and wear in general.

 

Today, clear coat systems are available predominantly in an acrylic emulsion, and also single and two stage Urethane catalyzed systems. Acrylic enamel formulations are also available.

 

To preserve the appeal and safety of a children’s play area:

 

Two things should be done to preserve any children’s play area. Including one in their own back yard!

 

  1. Maintain its look and functionality.
  2. Keep it clean, freshly painted, and in excellent repair.

 

When these basic rules are not followed, problems tend to happen. Repeatedly! Because of the playground equipment!

 

  1. The play equipment may deteriorate, and fall apart.
  2. A child is found crying, because of suffering from a cut, splinter and/or bruises.
  3. Something much worse can occur.

 

A true story…

 

My mother was four years old. During a family reunion, she fell onto hard, sharp stones at the bottom of the park slide. She scraped and burned both knees and hands, one elbow, and her face. She bled a lot. Her parents rushed her to the local doctor’s office. She required stitches. Now, over seventy years of age, she still has visible scars.

 

Note: In the 1940s, playground slides, swings, merry-go-rounds, etc. were constructed of steel.Playground equipment ground areas were covered with stone. No playground equipment was constructed of flexible, padded, cushiony materials.

 

Protect our children. Make and keep their playgrounds safe!

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved

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