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10 Tips to Create a Natural Playground

10 Tips to Create a Natural Playground

Natural playgrounds, also known as playscapes, involve as few man-made parts as possible. They are either themed natural playgrounds or playgrounds made of natural waste like that of trees.

With constantly evolving technology and rising concern of children’s safety, many kids these days are confined to city playgrounds in guarded environments. They don’t get to take the types of risks outdoors that were considered normal for their parents and previous generations. With rising popularity of natural playgrounds, we suggest creative ways to create one.

 

Here are 10 tips to create a natural playground:

  1. One of the best things about creating a natural playground is that you can give your kids the space to use their creativity. One way to do that is by developing a play environment that offers opportunities for storytelling by incorporating items like dinosaurs, shelters, hiding spots, combinations of logs, etc.

Let’s take the example of shelters and hiding spots:

A natural shelter is more fun than a basic plastic one. Last few years, this trend has been on an up-rise. You could get equipment like the big Castle Rock, which could be a good hiding spot for games like hide-n-seek and others. They are used in more ways like storytelling play, climbing, running around, etc.

  1. Give the kids opportunities to create and the landscape will change every day. Throw in things like wood, stones and building materials and see them use their minds with flying colors. They also keep children hooked for longer times as they can be changed every time the child gets bored of the previous arrangement. This is a boon.

You could add simple elements that can be used to create some kind of an art. For example, you could use sticks and landscaping materials to create natural canvases with pictures on it. The kids can color the sketches with sand, flowers, mud, leaves and more.

  1. Digging spaces

Digging has since long been one of the most favorite activities, with our without the presence of manufactured sandboxes. Kids used to play in natural sands in the playgrounds for digging, burying and finding objects. Now, there has been an advent of proper sandboxes by playground manufacturers that can contain sufficient amounts of sand and are safer.

  1. Boulders

Boulders or big rocks provide great additions to playscapes. They are fun to stand on, hop onto other boulders arranged in a fashion of your choice. Children can also use washable chalk to draw and color various figures on these. They come in different sizes for your various needs.

  1. Balance beams

Studies have shown that balance beams are important yet fun activities for kids. The act of balancing teaches kids the concept of sides and also makes them aware of the positioning of their bodies in a certain space. Experts suggest the latter helps kids learn the ability to sit still in class and remain stable in chairs. You can install a Log Beam for the same.

  1. Climbing structures:

Kids don’t climb real trees or explore canyons anymore. Climbing trees and other natural structures is a great cognitive activity. While climbing, kids have to merge their desire to climb the tree or a rock with their actual ability to do so between the brain signaling their bodies with each movement and figuring a proper path to victory (branch/rock crevice support, reach and the like).

But thanks to some innovative manufacturers, there are safe natural products that provide the same experience to kids.
Examples of some great equipment are:

  • Utah Climber: A big rock climber that was cast from a real rock in Utah
  • Hollow Log Climber: This tree climber allows the little ones to climb through a log rather than climbing on one.
  1. You could use water in innovative ways. One way is to create places to float boats. There is a lot more you can do with water.
  2. Plant herbs and other plants with vivid colors or soft textures for a sensory garden for a completely natural experience.

You can always do that along with the children themselves. You could teach them how to sow seeds, nurture and watch them grow. This is a profound experience for kids. It also automatically teaches them the skill of gardening.

  1. The most efficient way to create a natural playground is to convert an underutilized side yard or backyard corner into a natural play area. It is economical and customized as per your needs.
  2. Integrate traditional playgrounds with natural ones. Instead of having a child climb a set of straight stairs to go down a slide, a natural playground would use a rock or a slope fitted into the slide.

Henderson Recreation offers a wide range of nature-inspired playground equipment. Give us a call and we’ll help you use one or more of these 10 tips to create your natural playground.

 

Importance of accessible playground equipment in Canada

Importance of accessible playground equipment in Canada

Accessible playground equipment is essentially the equipment that is universally accessible, i.e., accessible by children of all abilities. This kind of equipment is built for children with special needs or physical disabilities. It is meant for inclusive playgrounds that can accommodate all kinds of children together. The need for handicap children to be able to play with other children has long been recognized. There are regulations laid down by Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA) that outline the standards for accessible playground equipment in Canada. The legislation aims to make public spaces accessible for Canadians living in Ontario with a disability. One in seven Canadians has a disability and that figure is expected to rise to one in five by 2036. It is imperative for the country to take care of the disabled and work for the general good of all.

92% of Canadians agree that accessibility for people with disabilities is a basic human right. When children go out and play with their peers, they improve mental and physical health. They learn social skills, problem-solving skills, creativity, and build relationships. It improves their concentration, which in turn improves their time at school. This stands true for children with or without disabilities.

Usually, children with disabilities are at a high risk of social isolation. They tend to be excluded from play and end up spending more time alone using their smartphones, computers and televisions. A report from Holland Bloorview Kids Hospital shows that 53% of kids who have disabilities have zero or only one close friend. This affects their mental state on a deeper level. This stints their development and hinders them in reaching their full potential. To avert this phenomenon, we need more accessible playground equipment in playgrounds across the country.

These children grow up to become the youth of the country, who are the future. Hence, the importance of accessible playground equipment is immense not only on an individual level, but also on a macro level.

Accessible playgrounds are beneficial in more wide-ranged ways than one might think of, such as:

  • Inclusiveness: It is widely agreed that equality is good for the society and communities. Usually children with a handicap are placed in therapeutic day schools rather than traditional classrooms. This way, there is less interaction between these children and their peers. If more playgrounds have equipment for children with special needs, they could serve as a leveling field where special needs and other labels matter less and children can meet each other on their own terms.
  • Social Skills: Handicap accessible playground equipment gives children of different abilities an environment to play and engage with each other. They make more friends. Hence, it makes them feel better about themselves. Nevertheless, they get honed at their social and communication skills.
  • Mental Development: When children with or without disabilities play, they develop problem-solving skills and creativity through pretend play. This also improves their decision-making skills, cognitive skills and imagination.
  • Physical Development: All children need some physical activity in their lives. Accessible playground equipment facilitates movements that help in burning calories, strengthening of muscles and improve balance & coordination.

There is an assortment of accessible equipment available in the market. Some are freestanding play events and the other can be attached to larger playground systems. It is better if children of all abilities come together, interact and play rather than a separate play area for physically disabled children. Let us mention some handicap accessible playground equipment:

Skeleton accessible sand table: This dinosaur skeleton sand table can be added to any accessible playground route.

Accessible school bus: Accessible school bus is a model school bus with two steering wheels and plenty of seating.

Accessible digger: Children always love to dig up the sand. Accessible digger is a fully functional digger with moving arms and bucket. It is designed specifically for children in wheelchairs.

Accessible turning bar: Accessible turning bar is wheelchair accessible equipment that offers upper body activity. Another variant to this is the accessible trapeze bar.

Accessible paddle power: Children of all abilities can paddle on this suspended paddle wheel, which provides vigorous upper body exercise.

Accessible step-up: Accessible step-up is a special needs access point for children and caregivers.

Accessible trapeze beam: Accessible trapeze beam consists of moving grips that challenge children of all abilities.

Accessible overhead ladder: Accessible overhead ladder can be used with a wheelchair when installed on an accessible surface.

Henderson Recreation is a veteran name in the playground sector. Our product line includes many types of creative and innovative playground equipment. We offer various accessible playground equipment like the ones mentioned above. For any assistance regarding accessible playground equipment in Canada, contact our expert staff at 1-800-265-5462. We’d be happy to help you.

Why every playground needs handicap accessible playground equipment?

Why every playground needs handicap accessible playground equipment?

Playgrounds, as most child experts agree, are an essential part of children’s development. They not only serve the kids for leisure purposes, but they also help induce creativity, enhance social skills, improve cognitive abilities, and provide physical activity. Studies across the world have proved a lot of other nuanced benefits of playgrounds. Even the governments have supported them. Premier John Horgan announced in May 2018, that his government had created a $5 million fund for the ongoing support of playgrounds. The program would provide new or upgraded playgrounds at 51 schools around British Columbia, Canada, by the start of the new school year, with 25 of them receiving $105,000 so that they could build universally accessible playgrounds. They stressed on universally accessible playgrounds on the grounds of equality. With such wide-ranging benefits to the government support for accessible playgrounds, it is imperative for every playground to have handicap accessible playground equipment.

 

Handicap accessible playgrounds are beneficial in more wide-ranged ways than one might think of, such as:

  1. Socialization: Handicap accessible playground equipment gives children of different abilities an environment to play and engage with each other. They make more friends. Hence, it makes them feel better about themselves. Nevertheless, they get honed at their social and communication skills.
  2. Physical activity: All children need some physical activity in their lives. Accessible playground equipment facilitates movements that help in burning calories, strengthening of muscles and improve balance & coordination.
  3. Mental Development: When children with or without disabilities play, they develop problem-solving skills and creativity through pretend play. This also improves their decision-making skills, cognitive skills, and imagination.
  4. Inclusiveness: It is good for society and communities when there is equality. Usually, children with a handicap are placed in therapeutic day schools rather than traditional classrooms. This way, there is less interaction between these children and their peers. If more playgrounds have equipment for children with special needs, they could serve as a leveling field where special needs and other labels matter less and children can meet each other on their own terms.

 

Let us mention some handicap accessible playground equipment:

  1. Skeleton accessible sand table: This dinosaur skeleton sand table can be added to any accessible playground route.
  2. Accessible school bus: Accessible school bus is a model school bus with two steering wheels and plenty of seating.
  3. Accessible digger: Children always love to dig up the sand. Accessible digger is a fully functional digger with moving arms and bucket. It is designed specifically for children in wheelchairs.
  4. Accessible turning bar: Accessible turning bar is wheelchair accessible equipment that offers upper body activity. Another variant of this is the accessible trapeze bar.
  5. Accessible paddle power: Children of all abilities can paddle on this suspended paddle wheel, which provides vigorous upper body exercise.
  6. Accessible step-up: Accessible step-up is a special need access point for children and caregivers.
  7. Accessible trapeze beam: Accessible trapeze beam consists of moving grips that challenge children of all abilities.
  8. Accessible overhead ladder: Accessible overhead ladder can be used with a wheelchair when installing on an accessible surface.

The above benefits and the wonderfully accessible equipment make it evident that all playgrounds need handicap accessible playground equipment. For further inquiries, call us at Henderson Recreation.