Forest Schools and creative play spaces

Posted by Nick Riley on 15th Aug, 2018 |

Children play in many different ways according to their own interests and abilities, and enjoy different forms of play at different times and places. Approximately 15 different play types have been identified, all of which are of importance to children’s enjoyment and day-to-day experience. (Children’s Play Council, National Playing Fields Association and PLAYLINK, 2000). Play is about more than just ‘letting off steam’; it can be quiet and contemplative, as well as active and boisterous. All children and young people, including those who are disabled or have specific needs, should have opportunities to experience challenge and take risks while playing. Play is essential to the healthy development of children and young people – not just their physical development, but their social and cognitive development too, according to Play England.

So to that end we design and build differently. We create spaces that stimulate minds and get children thinking about play instead of just playing on a piece of equipment. A log and a plank can be a seesaw or a bridge, a crocodile or a snail, a challenge and a story!

Its what we believe here at Playscape Engineering. The school play area we are creating here is very different. It has permanent surface textures, it has to be for practicality and keeping the space clean, but it also has natural products and materials. The structure is permanent but the opportunity for imagination and stimulating minds is huge.

Keep an eye on our web site for images as the scheme nears completion. Our twitter feed will be regular, so why not follow us @PlaScapeEng.

We should not prevent children and young people from doing things they enjoy because of risks that can be managed. Children and young people themselves recognise that ‘you can’t make everything safe’ and that a balance is needed between risks and fun. Children recognise that knowing about risks and how to manage them is an essential part of growing up.

The 10 principles for designing successful play spaces Successful play spaces… ■ are ‘bespoke’ ■ are well located ■ make use of natural elements ■ provide a wide range of play experiences ■ are accessible to both disabled and non-disabled children ■ meet community needs ■ allow children of different ages to play together ■ build in opportunities to experience risk and challenge ■ are sustainable and appropriately maintained ■ allow for change and evolution