Proponents of outdoor play and nature play know that one of the benefits of outdoor play is the range of physical skills used when playing outdoors: balancing on logs and climbing up trees requires kids to continually adapt their movement – reaching farther for some toe-holds than others… moving slower on slippery moss. Some modern playground manufacturers are starting to try to incorporate some of this variability and adventure in their playgrounds, while still making sure they meet all the safety requirements.
We recently checked out the playground at Woodland Park in Seattle (at 59th and Phinney Ave, by the north parking lot at the zoo). They have a new playground which has got some really cool features:
- Ladders with uneven steps… challenge kids to pay attention and to adapt their movements to the variable heights of each step
- “Rock climbing” ladders… kids scale uneven “rocks” to get to the slide
- this rope dome thing that has no clear obvious way up, so kids have to get inventive to find their way up
Landscapes Structures is a national company. You can search for a Landscapes Structures playground near you: www.playlsi.com/
(I do have to say though, that just because it’s Landscape Structures won’t mean it’s this cool…. this is one of their newest designs I think – we’ve been to some parks with older equipment by them and they don’t have these organic features, though they’re still always nice.)
And also, I recommend getting your child out in nature, or in “found nature playgrounds” in your urban area.
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