A playground doesn’t have to stick out like a sore thumb – actually, quite the opposite. A growing trend in Hawaii and other parts of the world is natural playground design for children.
A natural playground is a small piece of nature that contains a variety of different mini-environments. It usually contains trees and other plants—or plant materials—such as shrubs, tree stumps, and logs. The playground may contain open, grassy areas as well as areas shaded by trees. It generally includes spaces appropriate for active play, creative play, and quiet time too.
These playgrounds contain elements that are part of nature, as well as natural and prefabricated materials which enable children to express their creativity. The idea is to provide the necessary tools for the children to create objects formed in their imagination, providing them with interesting and entertaining challenges.
Natural playgrounds help our keiki to develop a whole range of beneficial behaviours in addition to physical skills, including social skills, cooperation and the ability to solve problems. In addition, natural playgrounds stimulate a child’s imagination and creativity more than a traditional playground, as well as help kids to appreciate nature and learn about their environment.
At InspiredPlay, we love helping to design and build playgrounds that blend beautifully into their natural surroundings. The Barwick Playground at Punahou School which you see above is just one stunning example.
Providing the ideal landscape for play, learning and exploration, the vast outdoor space is home to Explorer Dome and Galaxy Spinner play structures, both of which were carefully selected to inspire collaboration, creativity and communication among the keiki through their innovative design.
In addition to play equipment, the space also features a Hawaiian Halau, rock walls and water features, all centered around the unique focal point – the beloved century-old banyan tree. As the ultimate creative play structure, the tree provides a setting for imaginative space trips, Tarzan yells, and hide-and-seek contests among its mazelike roots and branches.
We hope the 2-5 Graders in the Kosasa Community have fun and learn lots in their outdoor classroom! Check out more of our PLAY focused creations here and get in touch if you want us to help bring your vision to life.