Natural Play Areas

Playground Design

The 10 principles for designing successful play spaces are:

  • bespoke
  • well located
  • uses natural elements
  • provides a wide range of play experiences
  • accessible by both disabled and non-disabled children
  • meets community needs
  • allows children of different ages to play together
  • has built-in opportunities to experience risk and challenge
  • sustainable and maintainable
  • allows for change and evolution

Wendy Russell, Lecturer in Playwork at the University of Gloucestershire, and adviser to Wicksteed Playgrounds on play says “The benefits of children being able to play freely outdoors are enormous. There is much more to play than learning skills for adult life. Research shows that play, being spontaneous, non-literal and not particularly aimed at any outcome, helps children to build a repertoire of responses to the things they encounter in their lives as children. In their play children deliberately seek out uncertainty (hanging upside down, getting dizzy, playing scary imaginative chase games and so on), the important thing being the emotions they can experience whilst doing this. This helps to develop a disposition – a way of approaching the world – that is flexible rather than rigid, as well as things like emotion regulation, peer and place attachments and stress response systems that make for a better childhood as well as a better future.”