Ok, so you are convinced of the benefits of nature playgrounds...now what?
Use this checklist of ideas to get you started on the planning and design of your nature play space:
- Get some information together to support your idea - use the Nature Play WA website to get your ideas flowing.
- Find some like-minded people and share your dream and ideas.
- Assess the play space - ask lots of questions and find out as much as you can. If you get the right people involved in your fact finding in the beginning, you will have fewer 'surprises' later on.
- Talk with your community - ask kids and families what they like to do and what they would like to see in the play space? - You wouldn’t want your kids to design your kitchen, so why would you design their playground?
- Get an initial plan of the space together - it can be a crayon drawing or one done by a landscape architect - then share it! Check that the ideas on paper are those of the community your planning for. Encourage all kinds of feedback.
- Ask for help - see who can help in your community. Landscapers, builders, architects, gardners, artists and local businesses are all great people to have involved.
- Look to include some design specifics;
- Include natural elements (e.g. sand, water).
- Provide materials that have no ‘fixed purpose’ (e.g. boxes). Fixed structures can become boring for children, whereas loose materials are always changing.
- Offer a degree of risk, otherwise children will see them as ‘unexciting and unchallenging' and won't use them. Healthy risk is good risk.
- Balance the risk with a degree of safety. To ensure this is done properly, get a Kidsafe consultation at the planning stages of your design.
- Make the play space accessible – locate them away from high traffic density, use zebra crossings and traffic lights where appropriate and avoid fencing and padlocking.
- Cater to a variety of age ranges, demographics and backgrounds.
- Make it look inviting.
- Where possible, reduce physical barriers through the use of ramps, suitable parking, shaded rest areas, good travel surfaces and easy access to amenities like toilets and water.
- Include space for active play.
- Come to a Nature Play WA Workshop to get all the details and help you need. Click here for more information.
- Let us know how you're going - email us at [email protected] so that we can share your story with others.
Play Space Guide
This guide is a collaboration between The University of Western Austalia’s Centre for the Built Environment and Health and various schools from the public, Catholic and independent sectors. It showcases elements of best practice play spaces designed to suit the needs of schools in Western Australia. The principles of good play spaces and examples provided in this guide were drawn from a review of evidence undertaken by the Centre for the Built Environment, The University of Western Australia.