Natural Play Areas

Natural playgrounds or playspaces are opportunities for exploration, discovery, learning, and, of course, PLAY!  Instead of metal and plastic playground structures, more and more schools and communities are creating natural play areas where kids of all ages can engage in play in a creative, natural environment.  

These playspaces can take many forms but many include:
Rocks and boulder
Logs, tree stumps, and balance beams
Loose parts & tools with which kids can build and create
Topographical features like berms, mounds, steps, and slopes
Small shelters like teepees, coves, tunnels
Features to sit in, on, under
Digging areas
Art features
Outdoor musical instruments
Winding paths
Access to water
Variety of spaces
Outdoor classrooms
So much more!

Natural playgrounds provide a great location for unstructured play. These spaces allow children to be creative- inventing their own games, touching and feeling natural objects, developing balance, coordination, and problem solving skills. Properly designed, these spaces are safe and accessible and allow children to develop their own sense of care, safety, and individual ability.  The benefits of spending time outdoors, for both children and adults, are well documented, and natural playgrounds provide nearby natural locations where kids (and families) can connect to the outdoors to improve their physical and mental health and reap the rewards of unstructured nature play.

While it is true that some natural playgrounds may require specific maintenance and care, they are often built for far less money than a large structured playground.