Problem Solver - August 2015
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Create a Nature-Inspired Play Space

Obesity rates among children have more than doubled in the past four decades. At the same time, children seem to get more and more screen time and less and less time outdoors. Creating parks and playgrounds where children and their families can play can help reverse the obesity trend. Allowing kids to play naturally, where they can make up their own games and explore the natural world, is a great way to engage their minds and bodies. Nature-inspired play spaces can go a long way toward getting kids interested and involved in the natural world, and away from more sedentary activities.

Q: We want to get kids out to the playground and provide a nature-inspired space where they can engage with the world around them. What kinds of things should we include?

A: Playground designers have stayed well ahead of the trend to include more nature-inspired playgrounds with creative new options for equipment. Look for playground collections that are molded from actual rock formations and tree bark so they look and feel true to life.

With their in-depth knowledge of playground safety, you can trust playground manufacturers to develop nature-inspired play that provides wonder and adventure to children via durable, safe and low-maintenance equipment.

You can choose natural play elements straight from the catalog, or talk with your manufacturer about customizing items to make your natural play area even more unique and exciting.

Q: We'd love to incorporate some unique elements into our natural play area. What are some of our options?

A: In addition to traditional playground equipment materials, you should consider adding a mix of materials into your playground design. By incorporating various materials, like concrete for example, your playground will deliver a unique aesthetic and offer a full sensory play experience to visitors. By taking a traditional post-and-deck structure and adding natural elements around it, such as rocks for climbing, or critters like squirrels and raccoons hiding amongst the play events, your playground is sure to come alive. Even more, customizations can take nature-inspired playgrounds to a new level of adventure. Collaborate with your playground designer to sculpt native plants and animals to incorporate into the design. Or ask them to create a design based on the history of the site. Was your community famous for logging? Create a sawmill-themed playground complete with a tree nursery. Or try creating a Native American-themed play environment to honor a famous settlement.

Q: We want our natural playground to fit into its surroundings, but we also love the bright colors of more traditional play structures. What should we consider?

A: Color is an important part of any playground, and can be used in many ways. Natural greens and browns, and even sky blues, will help a playground blend into the natural landscape, but these aren't the only colors inspired by nature. Colors can be inspired by a wide range of natural objects, from birds and flowers to fruits and spices. Playground designers can help you find the perfect palette of vibrant hues that will draw kids' eyes while coordinating beautifully with the surroundings.


Landscape Structures Inc.

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