When you use non-typical materials and concepts, you can create play spaces that are truly one of a kind. Otherwise known as playful landscapes, these play spaces often become popular playgrounds, drawing in visitors from other areas who want to try something different for the day.
Not only do playful landscapes offer a unique angle on an otherwise ordinary playground, but also they allow for inclusive play among children of all ages. The open-ended design encourages creative and imaginative play while challenging a child’s physical abilities.
Let’s look at some of the ways that you can add non-typical play components into your playground design to create playful landscapes – which will hopefully be the defining feature of your playground giving it that WOW factor!
One of the great things about playful landscapes is creating unique terrain or surface areas within the play space. For example, you can use poured-in-place rubber safety surfacing to create mounds that provide another play opportunity and add value to the space. These mounds can also provide crawl through tunnels which younger children love.
Playground spheres are another playground design accessory that can help you create unique and different play environments. Rubber playground spheres are perfect for children to walk and climb on. Using various sizes and colors can dramatically enhance any play area and encourage imaginative play and help sharpen certain skills in children.
Bouncing platforms are an easy way to sneak in playful landscapes. They work best when combined with mounds and other playful landscape concepts. Bouncers are available in various sizes, with the larger layouts accommodating several children (or adults!) at once. And because they are low to the ground, parents don’t have to worry about their children falling from a great height.
One of the great things about playful landscapes is that they leverage the natural environment for a cohesive look and feel. Using slopes, we can challenge young children without it being too daunting since they have a gradual incline. Adding nets, ropes and handholds so that kids can enjoy these non-typical play elements and experience various climbing adventures is perfect and different than the traditional playground equipment. These type of play experiences allow kids to practice safe risk taking that enhances their self-esteem and gets them trying something new while being safe. Plus, what child doesn’t love to roll down a slope or hillside, only to run back up and do it again. Kids love slopes!
If you’re working with hilly terrain, it’s worth thinking about incorporating hillside slides into your design. These slides utilize the natural terrain to provide a fun activity – with a possible huge drop! Connecting two terraced play spaces by way of a hillside slide isn’t extremely costly and adds another aspect to the play adventure. Climbing the hill builds a sense of suspense, while sliding down offers the thrill of movement and speed. Plus, your hillside slide will be noticed from a distance away!
Playful landscapes can also be enhanced with play sculptures. These sculptures generally consist of playful art such as animals, flowers or another related theme. Kids can climb on them and use them in their creative play. Playful art sculptures are also a great way to tell a story, linking the playground’s heritage to the community.
Creating playful landscapes is easy to do when you have the right materials and concepts. By utilizing the natural landscape and working in features like mounds, spheres and bouncers, you can create unique play spaces that will define your playground as one of a kind!