Problem Solver - August 2013
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Create a Stand-Out Nature-Themed Playground

Getting kids outside to play and away from screens has become an important mission for parents and communities across the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of children ages 6 to 11 who are obese more than doubled between 1980 and 2010. At the same time, children are spending more time watching television, playing videogames and otherwise watching a screen.

One of the best ways to help kids get and stay healthy is to help them be active. Playgrounds offer a great alternative to sedentary, indoor activities. But how can being outside and playing compete with games and television shows? One way is to create a playground that encourages children to use their imaginations and that combines the wonder of nature with the security of a playground.

Q: We want to attract more kids to the playground to encourage them to get active. How can we design our play space to be more exciting and inviting for kids?

A: Adding a theme to your playground makes it stand out. Playgrounds that offer something different from the norm will catch the attention of parents and kids alike. Nature themes blend into the environment and give children a much-needed tie to nature. Numerous studies show that children's social, psychological, academic and physical health are positively affected by daily contact with nature. Providing children with a safe place to get that contact will help them develop important skills for the future while having fun!

Q: We'd love to incorporate a nature-based theme at our playground. What are some ideas we can incorporate?

A: Nature play and nature-themed elements have become more and more popular in playgrounds across the country. Getting kids outside and involved with nature is an important mission in and of itself, and once they're in the great outdoors, they'll be getting plenty of healthy exercise as well.

You can find nature-inspired play events to incorporate into your play space that will create a natural-looking outdoor play area, where children and their families will love to gather.

Tree forts, clubhouses, nature-theme climbers and slides will provide a framework for children to exercise and run free. Many of the playgrounds also incorporate imaginative elements like a realistic dinosaur fossil dig, or elements sculpted to look like real tree stumps and rocks. Made from glass fiber reinforced concrete and hand-painted, these elements add an element of nature to your playground, but also provide the safety and careful approach to design that playground equipment manufacturers bring to the table.

Your nature-themed playground will act as a pathway into the natural world. Children will get lost in the great outdoors and all the adventures and exploration that can happen when they just let their imaginations take over.

Q: What are some other ideas we can incorporate into our play space?

A: Sail the seven seas with a pirate theme, rescue a kitten from a tree with a fire truck theme or be a knight with a castle-themed playground. You can find a beautiful playground that features realistic, high-quality, full-color graphics that will have kids imagining themselves in a variety of roles, all while having fun, refining their imaginations and getting exercise.

Q: What other elements should we consider?

A: Possibilities are endless—if you dream it, it can be designed! Work with your playground manufacturer to make your playground dreams come to life.


BCI Burke Company, LLC