Updated: Mar 9, 2020
One of the hottest trends right now in playground design are Nature Play and Adventure Playgrounds. We have noticed an increase in requests for Nature Inspired Playgrounds especially in early education centers, preschools, day cares, and kinder-age school playgrounds. We believe this trend is the result of people being more educated on how nature play benefits children's development. Studies show that when children spend time outside enjoying nature, they experience endless physical, cognitive, creative, social and emotional benefits.
A Nature Playground design should aim to create many different possibilities for using the equipment and initiating play. Before you begin designing its important to consider what functions you want the playground to support. There are many options, and the right composition and choice of equipment can ensure a combination of several functions such as: climbing • balance • motor skills • inclusion • training • sensory play • sand and water play • exercise • quiet areas
Using Nature to Your Advantage
When there are obstacles in the way of a new playground design, like trees, mounds of dirt, or rocks and boulders, they can often be looked at as challenging for the designer to move from the space. We want to change that way of thinking and switch it around to looking at the possibilities of including natural obstacles into the overall design of the playground. Sometimes using the terrain to your advantage can bring some fun design ideas using nature inspired play pieces. Using excess soil for an embankment or hill slide is a wonderful solution to the problem. You can also use natural rocks as part of the design as a border or in addition to other nature inspired play equipment.
Creating Special Spaces in a Nature Play Design
Adding elements such as sun shades, awnings, hammocks, sensory gardens and sensory elements can create special spaces in a Nature Play design. Using natural materials to surround the spaces such as plantings, hedges or rocks can create a "room-like" feel to the spaces.
Inspirational Nature Product Lines
Nature has always been a source of inspiration for both adults and kids. We want to inspire you to consider Nature Play for your next project. We offer several brands of play equipment that can transform any space into a magical outdoor wonderland with the safety and durability you've come to depend on from us.
Norna/HAGS - Playing "Without Rules"
Our NORNA/HAGS equipment offerings are made with the highest quality wood and focus on providing a high play value. We want children to grow up in a space where they can discover, learn and challenge themselves - entirely naturally. We want children's imaginations to go wild and to challenge their creativity and stimulate their motor skills. The basic concept of NORNA/HAGS nature play is play “without rules” which the children create by themselves without outside control. Specifically, this means that we offer nature playground equipment which can be used in as many ways as possible. For example, there are countless possibilities for what a climbing tower or the components of a balance course could be to a child.
Designed for Sustainable and Creative Play
NORNA/HAGS is known for making playground equipment and creative natural playgrounds, all of which are designed and manufactured sustainably, in the best quality and with a focus on providing high play value. Sustainability spans all facets at NORNA/HAGS. Apart from FSC®-certified wood and an FSC®- certified factory, they work constantly towards minimizing their environmental impact throughout the value chain.
FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council®) is an international marking scheme for sustainable wood. The FSC® mark documents that the products stem from forest areas that are used sustainably. • The FSC® has a broad approach to sustainability – and it works with the financial, social and environmental aspects.
Playground equipment from NORNA/HAGS is developed with extreme care and using sustainable materials, which means it can have a very long lifetime. NORNA/HAGS primarily uses Robinia wood for its equipment. In addition, they also use Douglas and Siberian larch. These types of wood are generally delivered untreated. NORNA/HAGS is the only company in the world to develop a modular pre-drilled system for Robinia wood. They call it SMART ROBINIA®. Many types of wood have a limited lifetime upon contact with soil. This is where Robinia wood is different by having a lifetime of up to 32 years upon contact with soil.
DID YOU KNOW THAT: Robinia comes with its own natural defense that ensures excellent resistance to rotting and mold. It is therefore possible to entirely avoid using toxic treatment.
HAGS Nature Inspired Inclusive Playground, Australia
The new nature-based playground at the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens in Australia has won the State Award for Best Playspace (under $500,000) in the Park and Leisure Australia Awards of Excellence program. Australian distributor, Austek Play, successfully tendered and built the playground meeting the requirements of the local council to create an inclusive, nature-based play area where everyone can play together.
The playground includes four individual play zones and 17 free-standing equipment items which, combined, offer a total of 89 individual play activities, including a wide variety of tactile and sensory items. The layout has been thoughtfully designed to incorporate inclusivity and accessibility. This is not solely limited to how children will use the equipment to play, but also extends to how parents and carers engage with the space as supervisors and spectators.
The playground creatively incorporates different levels of risk and challenge into the design to test and develop children’s abilities which builds on essential life skills in a safe and fun environment.
Miracle Recreation - Adventure Awaits!
Nature-inspired playgrounds combine the wonder of the great outdoors with durable and safe play equipment. Nature's Choice playground equipment combines nature-themed elements such as logs and rocks with the Miracle playground structures to provide a natural play experience full of adventure and movement! Replicating the essence of climbing trees, scaling boulders, and role-playing brings the excitement and wonder of the wilderness to life. Merging nature-inspired features with the benefits of quality materials and design provides an affordable, low-maintenance solution for a play-space.
Nature-Inspired Manufactured Play Equipment
Nature-Inspired Manufactured Play Equipment from UPC Parks blends the beauty and wonder of nature with the safety, durability and age appropriateness found in manufactured equipment. Each of the components is designed to look and feel as real as possible, providing an authenticity kids love, from rugged boulders to logs that feature a real bark-like texture. As kids maneuver through rope equipment, rocks and stumps, they build upper body and core strength, preparing them for further adventures beyond the playground.
PolyFiberCrete® is a revolutionary synthetic sandstone. It is a blend of lightweight materials which retain exceptional grip texture for climbing. The texture is the same on the surface as it is 8 inches deep, which means your climbing grip can never wear off. It doesn't crack or shatter so it's super durable and low maintenance.
Elephant Play - Connecting Kids with Nature
Elephant Play believes the best way to work with nature is to understand it and learn from it. Nature encourages non directed play and a different sensory experience. From a small stepping stone to an entire tree shack, kids will find their own way in a world full of possibilities. Go wild!