“Natural Play” – What’s it all Mean?

Much is written today about the desirability of “natural” play environments and I suspect that that is because of well founded concern that children are spending less and less time outdoors exploring the natural world.  This unfortunate trend was well documented in the now famous 2005 book by Richard Louv called Last Child in the Woods, in which the author coins the term “Nature Deficit Disorder“, a condition leading to a host of undesirable behavioral problems in people, but especially in children.

What exactly is a “Natural Playground”?  If you do a Google search on the subject, you are treated to a host of images showing tree stumps, mounds and rocks, all placed strategically by well meaning designers.  But don’t these man made attempts to mimic nature merely compound the original problem of kids not having regular access to the hills, fields, and woods that children used to play in and learn from?

Beyond that, in our regulated and litigious world, these stumps and rocks often times don’t meet minimum government standards for safety and/or accessibility.  Additionally, over time, these natural materials degrade and break down quickly, straining tight maintenance and capital budgets.

With these factors to consider, it begs the question, how does one combine the best of nature playgrounds, with their organic look and feel, with manufactured equipment that promises long-lasting durability, fitness-focused components and compliance to safety and ADA standards?

Our partner, Landscape Structures, has done an outstanding job addressing all these seemingly disparate requirements with their “nature inspired” play grounds.  Using concrete forms made from natural rock and tree structures and various recycled materials along with nature themed designs and components, the result is a natural aesthetic offering a robust variety of fantasy and social play, physically challenging components that carry superior warranties and features that satisfy key risk management requirements.  Are these play spaces entirely natural?  No, but they are not intended to be, but rather inspired by nature for today’s modern play environments.

Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends