Environmentally Friendly, Nature Play, Adventure Playgrounds

Fall 2013

The Green Issue - Fall 2013 Playground Magazine - Vol. 13-No. 3

Nature is a Beautiful Thing! Nature, or Mother Nature, as I fondly refer to her, is a beautiful thing. I do not intend a pun, but I have more of a “hippie” connotation in mind. Perhaps you see nature as aesthetically intoxicating, or maybe you lean more towards nature being the catalyst to inner peace and tranquility for the soul; regardless, Mother Nature is indeed magnificent, intriguing, and hopeful: a beautiful thing. I am lucky when it comes to nature, I live on the backside of The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park is just over the hill. This is Mother Nature at her best!

 While I have a long and prosperous relationship with Mother Nature, I realize that many children (and adults) do not have easy and worthwhile exposure to the earth and its natural habitats. We would be wise to include natural elements, recycled materials, and hands on experiences in our play areas. 

A garden will bring joy and amazement to children. Plants will intrigue and please. Trees will shade and protect. Bugs will be questioned, micro scoped and captured! Log benches will hold families. Ponds will bring ducks and frogs, while grass will invite crawling, rolling and even cloud searching.

See how the beauty of nature lends to the beauty of play? Nature is a good thing; we should all work hard to include it in our plans for our play areas. As you design, manage and work with play areas, include nature as a vital requirment. I have to go now, I hear Mother calling.


In This Issue...

Environmentally Friendly Playgrounds Boards
By: John Ogden
Ever since playgrounds were first conceptualized, they’ve been evolving in terms of design and substance. What once began as a hub for imbuing good behavior, playgrounds have evolved into a space of limitless possibilities, where kids can foster their creativity and learn through fun and play. But...
A single flower growing out of grass
By: Joe Frost
“Living in nature enhances aesthetic sensitivity, imagination, and sense of beauty. In natural habitats and gardens children reduce fears and learn about nature’s unbounded biodiversity. Nature transforms schoolyards, backyards, neighborhoods and countryside into magical places for exploration,...
Fran Wallach
By: Peggy Payne
It hardly seems possible that Fran has been gone for five years. The work she did during her lifetime is growing and expanding, and she has been chosen for another honor to recognize her service and her accomplishments. On October 9th, at the 2013 National Recreation and Park Association Congress...
Children playing in the mud
By: Rusty Keeler
OK, here it is: my favorite play project in the whole world: The Hands-on-Nature ANARCHY ZONE at the Ithaca Children’s Garden in Ithaca, NY. YES!
Children sledding and snowing
By: Ron King
When I was a kid, I’d be out the door first thing in the morning and back home when the sun set. I can’t even remember eating.  Not far from our home there was a foothill to the small mountain behind our house with an old growth pine forest covering the hillside. The dense pine canopy limited the...
By: The Play and Playground Magazine
Recently, The National Institute for Play, with support from the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) published the first round of academic research surrounding the benefits of free play on the newly-created Encyclopedia of Play Science. The Encyclopedia establishes the...
fabric shade shelter over playground
By: Jay Jensen
Co-writen by Sarah Van Wezel Playground designers and operators are constantly faced with the challenge of creating safe and attractive play areas. When it is sunny outside, no one wants to stay indoors, especially children. On hot summer days young and old seek shade. Shade provides cool relief...