Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wild Playgrounds

Can we bring ourselves to detach from the sterile play chips and rubber of the playground? Can we remove ourselves from the concept of intensive maintenance, mowing, and clear sight lines?

Large, flat, and clean! From

I know it can be a scary concept for some, but letting our playspaces go wild may have value for kids beyond our imagination. I talk a lot about nature play, but even the very concept of nature play varies from person to person. At the bare minimum it contains nature! Nature is varied. It often looks messy and it is alive and changing. If we can move these concepts into our play spaces we have begun to allow nature a foothold in play. After seeing countless playgrounds in Germany I started to see how their view on vegetation and playgrounds was so different from what I have seen in the US.

Alastair Seaman of Grounds For Learning in Scotland had similar realizations while visiting these German Playscapes. You can view a short video clip that addresses this and other issues he observed.

Sand migrates

Willow and bamboo create rough paths and forts

Plants (and weeds!) grow up, around, and through play elements

Plants and People Co Exist

I think these spaces are inviting, wild, and fun. They prove that nature play and plants do not have to mean higher maintenance. They may just require higher tolernace for the wild!


  1. I couldn't agree more! I love that image of the willow and bamboo paths.

  2. Bravo! I hope you don't mind if I link to this post on my blog?

    Jade x

  3. Yes! We love finding more natural places to play. Great post.


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