Monday, May 3

Natural Playground Photos

This weekend we visited the playground. Here are some pictures of our public elementary school playground. In the past two years they have been working at changing it over to a natural playground.

Bench or balance beam

There are two of these little play houses.

Boulders for climbing, and slides.

A waterway sits on a slope and draining water constantly flows through.

Music area

Seating and "stage"

The Treehouse

Labyrinth and swings for younger children

Climbing Wall

Slide for younger children

Sand play

A little info about natural playgrounds:

Natural playgrounds are very different from traditional playgrounds for a few reasons. Traditional playgrounds emphasize active, or 'gross motor' play using large and more expensive equipment. They also have moving parts and tall structures. Aside from the aesthetic beauty of a natural playground, natural playgrounds focus on creating a space to emphasize social play (pretending) and constructive play (building). It is said that children use more imagination with the use of a natural playground as well as being able to experience the sights, smells, textures, and sounds that come from a natural environment. Children in a natural playground are exposed to native plants and trees as well as sand and water. Part of the reason for the growing interest in natural playgrounds comes from the lack of interaction children now have with nature and the natural environment. If you haven't already, check out the book Last Child in the Woods or the short webcast from by author Richard Louv on the side of this blog.


hikingmama said...

Wow! What a cool place to play and explore! My son has never been a kid who enjoys traditional play structures but loves natural challenges (climbing on things, navigating rough trails). Did your girls enjoy exploring the natural playground?

Lynnette said...

How beautiful! I wish we had one near us.

Miri said...

Thank you so much for sharing! So beautiful! SO many ideas for implementing even in a home playground...

Paige said...

Wow, that's gorgeous! I wish we had one nearby!

Amy said...

Yes, my girls love that playground. I like that it is so much more attractive than traditional large plastic playground structures. I can see the benefits for both kinds of playgrounds. Given the short length of recess times, a traditional playground encourages lots of movement, rigorous play, climbing, & running. I would be interested to observe a class at play in both types of playgrounds and compare.

Lilymm04 said...

That is so neat thanks for posting this its the first time i have seen something like this

Eva said...

wow that is amazing :) If I ever get my own house/backyard I definitely want to try to make a natural play area, glad I saw this post :)

MamaBirdEmma said...

So cool! I would loved to do some of those things in our backyard!

Teena said...

This is so great! Thanks for sharing! I want to incorporate those ideas into our backyard.

Anonymous said...

This is such a lovely playground. I would love to see one of these at my local school.

Patty said...

These are beautiful photos. What a lovely play area. I would love to use the pictures (credited to you of course) in my work--I do teacher workshops on nature play.

Amy said...

Patty- Thanks for asking and yes you may use them. I'm glad it can be a resource for others.

jojoebi-designs said...

looks like a great play area!

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Amy said...

Thanks for sharing! I find this totally fascinating. On the one hand, it seems a sad commentary on most children's ability to actually have a chance to play out in the woods or natural settings but it also seems a million times better than the alternative playgrounds. This has gotten me really thinking and researching the topic more. Thank you, thank you!

Lisa C said...

That is the coolest playground I have ever seen! (And the more aesthetic!)

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

What a beautiful play space

Jessica said...

THAT is amazing!! I have been in love with natural playscapes for a long time...what an inspiration and at a public school no less!

Thank you for sharing. :)

Anonymous said...

Hello! These pictures are AMAZING! I am currently teaching a college level environments class and we are studying outdoor spaces. Can I please use your pictures in my presentation (with your name and site credited)?


Amy said...

Yes these pictures in the post may be used I just ask for a link/credit to the source.

Alexis said...

Hi. We are currently attempting to create a natural playscape at our Vermont School. Were you on the committee for creating this playground? If so, do you have tips on grants available, possible sponsors, etc? Thank you!

Amy said...

We moved in when the project was well on its way. Sorry, I don't have any of that information for you. It was completed in phases and it is supported well by the community and parents.

Anonymous said...

Hello!Wow! what a great place.. I wish I could take my daughter there. If somebody is in the L.A area there is pretty magical place called Audubon Center at Debs Park. You would not believe you are in the city once you are there. Children are always playing very creatively there. It is wonderful!! Esther

Anonymous said...

Is this wood treated in any way? Waterproofer? Shellac? Or are you using a specifically hardy wood. Moved from the city to the far off "burbs" and I'm currently designing just such a playground in my own (somewhat large)yard using 2 trees that were taken down for safety reasons... but I'm concerned I'd be building something that will be rotting or infested with bugs/termites in the future. Any tips?

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Elzee said...

Hi, We are looking into doing something like this for our elementary school playground. Where is yours located? Thanks!

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