Nature Playground Design for Healthy Childhood Development

Summer is the perfect time to build your nature playground and bring nature to your school! Using nature as a tool for fun and creativity is a great playground idea for primary schools.

Having positive and regular experiences with nature teaches kids new things about their place in the natural world. From an early age, this can inspire interest in science and art while also developing ideals of responsibility and care.

Research finds that regular interaction with fresh air and nature plays a vital role in healthy childhood development and well-being. Active play or work in outdoor classrooms provides kids with the Vitamin D and fresh air important for healthy development. Providing a space for these activities also helps to combat sedentary behaviour.

Sensory play equipment and sensory gardens allow children to discover outdoor sensations that many in urban areas miss out on. The smell of flowers, the sound of birds, and nature den building introduce young minds to a whole new world of experience!

Work with Nature in your Playground Design

Using a range of materials and features in playground design creates a unique and varied area for nature play and exploration. Organic play features create terrain for dynamic play experiences perfect for physical activity or imaginative, collaborative games. Also, wooden toadstool seating amongst nature can create a thematic meeting point for your nature playground.

Natural structures including wooden play equipment are growing more popular than plastic or metal play equipment. These materials are more aesthetically pleasing and inspire imaginative play. Organic structures are great for children to explore the jungle on an adventure trim trail or scale castle walls on wooden climbing towers. The School Playground’s wooden play equipment is designed to be safe and sturdy with treated timber for a glossy, slip-resistant, splinter-free play experience.

Even in more urban areas without a range of naturally occurring vegetation like a treeline or room for a school garden, you can still work nature into your playground design. Research finds that simply existing around plant life on a regular basis has serotonin-boosting effects so even the smallest piece of nature can have a big impact!

Raised planters or flowers on a trellis with archways create a natural doorway that separates the playground from school buildings. Children need this to develop a healthy work-life (or school-play) balance to relax, de-stress and have fun!

Fun Nature Playground Activities

Cultivating School Gardens

Tending to the school garden is an exciting opportunity for many children that also teaches them responsibility and patience. Students can dive in with a wide range of hands-on activities. We recommend teachers assist students to grow and care for flowers or even vegetables for a healthy picnic to celebrate the end of the school year!

A sensory garden for special needs students presents an amazing opportunity for creativity in playground design. A range of colours, textures, shapes, and smells from a range of plants of your choosing.

Some popular secret garden ideas that kids will love include:

Raised planters are a great option to allow kids to explore a love for gardening if you have limited space. They require less maintenance than an allotment-style school garden and are, therefore, perfect for younger children to assist in planting and watering.

Encouraging Education

Outdoor nature play promotes learning about the world around us, but can also provide a wider range of education.

Educational and sensory panels can enhance learning in outdoor classrooms or independent learning on the playground. Learning about animals, plants, and nature is a valuable skill for the development of natural science knowledge, vocabulary learning, and inspiration for storytelling.

Creating art from things found in nature can spark inspiration and creativity in kids to explore new elements of self-expression. Creating leaf collages of leaves and crayon tree rubbings are fun ways to introduce art while also fostering a deeper appreciation for the natural world. Special arts and crafts lessons are fun for everyone to explore independent creativity. Additionally, lessons in outdoor classrooms can provide shelter from the unpredictable rain of British Summers!

Embracing Nature Play

Nature den building is a unique way to help kids truly get stuck into nature play. Nature play and den building sets are unique imaginative play equipment from The School Playground Company. These play sets give your students tools to create their own dens for hide and seek, imagination games, or just for some privacy.

A safe and open space to play helps children feel independent in their own fun, and nature is a huge opportunity for this. Organise a scavenger hunt for natural items to teach skills of observation, recreate your favourite stories in a natural setting, or even play with wooden trim trail equipment for a really challenging adventure!

Ready to Explore your own Nature Play Opportunities?

The School Playground Company is here to assist you in developing your unique and safe nature playground with all the active play, educational and fun elements you need.

Is our playground equipment right for your playground? You can continue to browse our products or contact us today for more information on how we can help.

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