Why are natural play spaces so important?
When children play in natural environments they are connected to, and contribute to, their world.
Playspaces in natural environments should include plants, trees, edible gardens, sand, rocks, mud, water, and other elements from nature.
Creating a play area in your home that includes natural elements can have many benefits for your child. Research has shown us that children who spend more time outside tend to be more physically active and less likely to be overweight. Also, children who play in natural settings are more resistant to stress and have a lower incidence of behavioural disorders.
Natural play settings encourage children to play in more diverse, imaginative and creative ways. Playspaces that are natural, irregular, and challenging help young children learn to recognise, assess, and negotiate risk and build confidence.
Rocks and Boulders
Aarons Landscaping can include many natural elements in your outdoor play space that will enhance your child’s outdoor play experience. For example, the creative placement of rocks and boulders around a play space can provide children with easy to challenging “routes”.
Rocks and boulders can be great for learning climbing skills or just good old-fashioned fun. Children almost always gravitate toward rocks and boulders, and they become the immediate favourite place for children of all ages to explore and interact. In addition to defining areas such as a sand area or dry creek bed; rocks and boulders provide opportunities for challenging and fun play, and add to the natural materials used in play spaces. Children’s balancing skills are tested when they make their way along a boulder border or use the boulders as stepping stones.
The boulders can also be a good place to sit and rest, talk, or watch. Cleverly arranged rocks and boulders are safe. Children have a healthy respect for the solidity and hardness of rocks and boulders and develop their own sense of care, concern, and safety when they climb on them.
Mounds made from soil or wet-pour rubber give a three-dimensional aspect to an area that may be otherwise flat, children can use their imagination to feel as though they are the king or queen of the castle and view the world from a different level.
Mounds can be crawled over safely by babies, can be used to “hide” behind, for sitting or lying on, and can have a wide variety of play items added to them. You can also insert or mount other items on our through mounds. This can include slides which are installed on the mound, giving added safety as a fall by a child would be from a reduced height. Mounds can also be landscaped with plants suitable to your area, including small shade trees, shrubs, and native grasses.
Natural play spaces invite open-ended interactions, spontaneity, risk-taking, exploration, discovery, and connection with nature. Kids will foster an appreciation of the natural environment and develop environmental awareness, as natural play areas provide a platform for ongoing environmental education.
Aarons Landscaping’s specialists are experts in creating natural playscapes for play areas in Early Learning Centres, and we know how important nature play is in developing cognitive, creative, and social skills, as well as developing imaginations. Furthermore, outdoor play has even been said to reduce rates of childhood aggression.
The experts at Aarons Landscaping can design an outdoor playscape that includes many natural elements. We can include elements such as dry creek beds, plants, trees, and shrubs, boulders, stone pathways, raised hills, sandy areas, and much more. Let us talk with you about your needs and create a design that will spark your child’s imagination.
Contact us today to learn more and to get your process started.