Playing outside is not just about letting off steam. It is a vital part of childhood that helps children develop physical strength, coordination and balance. It can also provide opportunities for children to learn and develop:
Active & Free Play Areas
Quiet areas allow an individual child or small group of children to read; talk; play a special game; interact with nature; or quietly observe a play group before attempting to join in. Use landscaped plantings to create semi-enclosed spaces and remember to incorporate shelter and seating. Many children are hesitant to join large groups of busy, active children or enter large open play areas and including quiet areas in the playground gives these children a safe space while they build up confidence.
Social Play Areas
Include space or structures that support social play. These encourage language and cooperation skills as children role-play and learn to take turns and share. Including suggestive structures, rather than obvious shops, cubbies, etc encourages creativity and imagination to use them in a variety of ways.
Imaginative, Creative, Exploratory & Natural Play Areas
These are often the most neglected areas in children's play spaces. They can be inexpensive and offer a wide variety of play options. Trees, shrubs and ground covers can provide different scents, textures, shapes, colours and sound and help stimulate imaginative and creative play. They can also encourage bugs, birds and other wildlife into the environment and add to the diversity and learning opportunities. Boulders, rocks and logs can be used as play settings and for seating. Wind chimes/socks or other musical elements add further diversity.
Visit the Nature-based Playgrounds page for more information about the benefits of incorporating nature into playground designs.
The Playground Advisory Service can help organisations to create nature-based playgrounds that balance safety and risk to support children's health, development, learning and wellbeing.
For more information contact us on (08) 9340 8509 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.