Headteacher Magazine, guide to services and products for UK Schools
The two key components of designing playgrounds is sustainability and safety. When children are playing around them their attentions tend to sway towards how ‘fun’ and interactive they are. So when it comes round to designing the playgrounds sustainability safety and fun must all be equally considered.
The development stage
Wooden play areas can bring children closer to nature. Made from natural resources such as driftwood and logs and are usually supported by natural landscapes such as small grassy hills and mud floors and these natural attributes remind children of the importance of the outdoors.
Playgrounds also help to promote co-operation, teacher interaction, motor and social skills which help to build relationships with others and to promote teamwork, and the wooden playground can help interaction with their natural surroundings. Other features of natural playgrounds can be sand pits, water ways and rocky areas.
They are sustainable
Wooden playgrounds are more sustainable and recyclable than plastics. Wooden Playgrounds moisture content is under 20% therefore it doesn’t rot, and if properly cared for can last for years. Even though metal playgrounds genuinely last longer they tend to rust and can become dangerous with sharp edges. Wooden playgrounds should be maintained on a regular basis as well as suitable drainage wherever they may be placed.
Infinite Playgrounds, designers of natural playgrounds – take recycled timber and make them into natural shapes of the design they want to use. For example, the shape of the logs they use are considered when creating the climbing frames. This is a low-carbon footprint method unlike the metal or plastic frames.
Practical and versatile
Natural wooden playgrounds are great in helping children develop. This is because they detain ‘risky’ play so children can explore. As well as great traction, the playgrounds don’t become hot to the point of burning in summer and cold to touch on cooler days.
They’re also custom-made as they’re designed with the natural environment in mind and whether that be in a National Trust Park or a playground, these structures are perfect for all spaces no matter the shape or size. Metal playgrounds however, are only able to come in pre-set shapes or designs which make them unsuitable in this sense.
Additions can easily be made to wooden playgrounds without affecting their structure unlike metallic playgrounds that may have to be destroyed and rebuilt. With any playground there should always be an attempt to incorporate some natural features and materials, and to make them hard-wearing as well as fun. Wooden playgrounds aren’t just great for the environment, they’re fully customisable, unique and specific to the surrounding environment.
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