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April 25, 2019

A special play table

Emmi beams, and watches with sparkling eyes as Wehrfritz Designer Matthias Böck tightens the last screws: Her three year-old brother Vincent climbs around on the brand new play table, with matching bench, as Emmi is wheeled up to it in her wheelchair. Mama Sara Schrödel helps the five year-old onto the bench. The little girl is visibly delighted, running her hands over the light green tabletop, and you can see that she’s already planning her time playing here.

Once the new outdoor play table is set up in her garden at home, and the still missing barriers are mounted, the first thing she’s going to do is play with sand and water to her heart’s content. Up to now, this type of independent outdoor playing fun has hardly been possible for Emmi. The five year-old suffers from genetic muscle weakness. A corset keeps her body upright, and she moves with the help of a wheelchair. But if she loses her balance, she can hardly catch herself.

The 80th and final of the good deeds on the occasion of the HABA Family of Companies anniversary is to give this little girl a little independence for outdoor play with the new play table. When the team in the Wehrfritz Design Department were considering a contribution to the “80 Good Deeds” campaign, it didn’t take long to come up with the suggestion of developing something for Emmi, the daughter of colleague Sara Schrödel, says Designer Maria Pfefferlein. The group works with Michael Wirsing, head of the Wehrfritz Design Department, on the design of the custom piece, which should be a robust and weatherproof “playground” for Emmi in the Schrödel family’s garden.

“A good deed for countless hours of enjoyment and playing fun.”

The play equipment professionals at Wehrfritz have all sorts of good ideas for this “good deed”: The materials used (larch wood, polyethylene and stainless steel) withstand both weather and enthusiastic “water play”. Emmi can either sit on the bench or simply drive up to the table in her wheelchair. Plus there’s also space for Vincent or other playmates on the bench. There is also a rope for the little girl to hold onto and pull herself up independently. “It’s good training for her”, says mother Sara. The stainless steel pipes that the rope is attached to can also be used to hold accessories for playing and working in reach. This allows Emmi to play independently and with many different materials despite her limited radius of movement.

And so that the five year-old can continue to use her play table in the coming years, the seat and table are height-adjustable. The designers also thought about steadiness, as Emmi immediately tests by laying herself on the play area laughing.

Wehrfritz provided the material for the outdoor play table free of charge. The Wehrfritz design team spent about 20 hours working on the development, estimates Michael. Then building it took another five hours – all outside of working hours. “But it was worth every minute”, says Michael. “A good deed for countless hours of enjoyment and playing fun.”

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