Our church, which is Unitarian universalist, has some funding to re-do the playground, and b/c I am in charge of setting up the preschool that will soon be there, I get to have a big part in deciding what the playground will be!
Kids using it are currently 3-13yrs old, but will mostly be used by 3-7yr olds. There are some kids with special needs (sight impared, autism). It would also be nice to have a table/seating area for adults who are out there, and also for the kids to eat snacks/do art projects, etc. And ideally, we would be able to let the kids play out there somewhat unsupervised, so nothing really high up or dangerous (the space can be seen from inside easily, but usually after the church service adults want to be inside, and the kids want to be out)
We have a large chain link fenced area that's "L" shaped, which we may make into a rectangle b/c its so huge! Its got lots of shade from trees near the edge of the space, and a smallish cement slab that comes from the building. Other than a couple falling down play pieces, there is nothing back there!
I want something open-ended, natural looking, waldorf-y and unique compared to standard playgrounds. Something where kids can use their imagination.
One idea is to put a laybrith in the open area that the kids can run around on, play tag, etc. It also suits the philosophys of the church. I'd also like to incooperate a garden where the kids can plant whatever they'd like
Here are some other ideas I found:
Anyone have any fun suggestions to add?
http://progressiveearlychildhoodeducation.blogspot.com/2010/04/just-add-stones-logs-stumps-and-mounds.html cool tree stumps & log blocks
http://savvima.com/2010/06/09/natural-playgrounds/ (I love the music thing... and the built-in slide = no falls!)
http://www.cincinnatifamilymagazine.com/new/family-fun/lets-go-to-the-playground picture of a wooden castle playground, there's one of these not far from me & we love it, it's super fun/creative/lots of places to hide and feels very safe (high sides so no falls)
http://www.geraldangelo.com/photos/wooden-playground-train this train is a hit wherever I see them!
a fence all around (if there's not one already) is IMO essential for the parents' peace of mind & ability to relax!
I love tire playgrounds (and actually started building a really pathetic one in my yard) http://www.thesellers.net/2009/07/tire-playground/
I had 2 really awesome links that I'm bummed I can't find (they are on a laptop that died)... if I find them I will post them!!
I vote for including water in some way. One local park has a water spigot which run into a very shallow trough. A concrete pig is beside it, and the whole thing is near the sand. Hours of fun putting sand on the pig and washing it over and over....
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Water definitely = lots of fun but I wouldn't include it in an area that kids will be playing unsupervised... except maybe if there is a way to do it without allowing it to collect even 1"...
Yes, there are water features like that. I was going to suggest water features that are used in a couple parks near us that don't involve any pooling of the water. One is a basically a water fountain on a large, flat non-skid surface, where the water jets upward and the kids can splash through and under the streams of water. The other has multi-coloured pipes and tubes that twist up and around and the water mists and sprays from the pipes. They are controlled with a push button that turns the water on when children want to play.
Like any playground structures, some supervision is still required. Inevitably, running, jumping, excited, distracted children are going to fall or bump into structures.
I saw a water feature that had big pebble like stones, and the water poured down from something onto them, so the rocks were always wet, but no puddles. That looked pretty fun to me!
Its all flat, so I don't think we could really do any of those cool slides that go down the side of hills though.
I love all of the stumps/logs ideas, I think its great to be able to incooperate nature into the play scape!