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NatureGrounds: Putting Nature Into Play

  • Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Reconnect kids to nature by blending play equipment with landscape 

Think back to some of your fondest childhood memories involving nature play. Do you remember your excitement and laughter as you built your first tree house, splashed in the creek, dug dirt holes and swung on branches? 

PlayCore, whose mission is to advance play through research, programs and partnerships, recognizes the multiple positive impacts that unstructured nature play has had on children generation by generation.

Increasingly packed schedules, the allure of electronic plugged-in play and a lack of unregulated green space are threatening the future of nature play. Thankfully, PlayCore has stepped in with a solution with NatureGrounds: Creating & Retrofitting Play Environments: Best Practice Guidelines.

NatureGrounds is a comprehensive program providing best practice guidelines for designing play environments that deliberately bring nature back into children’s lives. Created in partnership with the Natural Learning Initiative, this 48-page guidebook outlines how to integrate manufactured play equipment and the living landscape to create richer play experiences.

Serving as an educational resource and training tool that highlights research-based design procedures for both parks and school grounds, NatureGrounds offers cost effective design solutions based around three main factors that guide the creation of successful naturalized playgrounds:

  • Playground siting
  • Playground users and their needs
  • Choice of specific components

“We see the NatureGrounds program as an opportunity to inspire landscape architects, designers, and park and recreation professionals with new tools to create healthy, innovative, naturalized playgrounds for all,” said Robin Moore, Director of the Natural Learning Initiative and an international authority on the design of children’s play and learning environments, as quoted in the guidebook.

Why consider naturalized playgrounds? Studies reveal a strong link between children's experiences being outdoors in nature and their psychological well-being and overall development. Here’s a few of the benefits:

  • Reconnecting with Nature: Research shows that when children play in environments that integrate nature with built environment, they reach higher levels of physical activity and engage in more social interaction.  
  • Added Value: Naturalization adds value to play equipment by enhancing visual qualities, thereby attracting children outdoors to use parks and school grounds.
  • Safe and Unique: Playground safety has reached the point where children may find playgrounds uninspiring. To counteract this trend, naturalization is an effective strategy to stimulate and encourage play.
  • Comfortable: Naturalization adds shade, and comfort — resulting in sustained repeat visits and a relaxed, playful social atmosphere.
  • Fresh Air!

Intrigued? Play! by Crozier is a proud partner of PlayCore. Contact a Play! Sales Associate to learn more about NatureGrounds and receive your COMPLIMENTARY guidebook. Our sales staff can help you implement these best practices into your playground design and incorporate nature themed play elements that will add to the natural appeal of your playground.

Enjoy nature play!

About PlayCore: PlayCore believes that play enriches lives and they are committed to enriching play and fitness for children, families and communities. They believe innovative programs like NatureGrounds are critical for challenging and inspiring the future innovation of play environments across the nation. PlayCore is the parent company of GameTime, North America's largest manufacturer of playground equipment and the renowned leader in play.

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NatureGrounds guidebook

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Leah-Iverson-Portrait

LEAH IVERSON

Marketing Communications Manager

Leah is putting pen to paper in her role as Marketing Communications Manager for both Crozier’s Landmark and Play! divisions. Her main responsibilities include leading marketing and communication efforts through strategic articles, website content and by enhancing engagement on various social media platforms. read more

leah.iverson@crozier.ca