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Should you use Wooden Playground Equipment?

November 13, 2018

The warm, tactile nature of wooden commercial playground equipment creates an ideal learning environment for children of all ages.

Touch is a major part of childhood development, playing an important role in a child’s physical skills and communication skills. Exploring their sense of touch is essential in forming a child’s ability to participate in physical activities. It’s one of the first things they learn during early development. In fact, that it’s the very first sense to develop while they are inside the womb, affecting every step of their early life.

Sensory play is something that every school, park or play centre should include for both indoor and outdoor play areas. The act of touching sends messages from the skin to the brain, and this information helps to develop sociability and problem-solving in young minds. This is particularly true for children who are kinesthetic learners, and wood is the perfect material for supporting this kind of mental growth.

Today, more and more playgrounds are choosing wood as their primary material to boost learning for children. Wooden equipment comes with many benefits, and here we talk about some of the reasons why it’s a superior option.

Bring them closer to nature

As well as helping brain development in young children, the use of wooden playground equipment can help a child connect better with the outdoors. The inclusion of stepping logs, ladders, bridges, wooden revetments and climbing walls not only challenges children physically and keeps them fit, but it also bring them closer to nature.

These features complement the aesthetics of green, wooded environments or parks, and can remind children of the importance of being outdoors. Creating that connection with nature will encourage young people to spend more time being active, and will inspire them to learn more about the world around them.

Natural materials like wood can be incorporated with sand pits, water channels or rocks to replicate an outdoor landscape in the most elegant way. Bespoke playful landforms can be created with wooden commercial playground equipment to take on any size or style to fit your project. It can be designed into any shape to suit the natural contour of your designated land.

Wood is also adaptable and can be built upon, making it a scalable choice for further development in the future.

If you choose to apply metal or plastic elements to your design, wood can be easily adapted to fit in with other building materials. Giving you complete versatility in the build, and allowing you to create a space that is tailored to the needs of the local community.

A sustainable choice for playgrounds

Another reason to choose wooden materials for your playground project is sustainability. Wooden equipment is easily recyclable and if cared for in the right way, it can last for many years and often outlives any plastic counterpart.

Wood also has a moisture content of below 20%, which means it won’t rot. While nothing is completely weatherproof, wood is a material that can survive the elements of every season.

The appearance of a wooden playground is also more suitable for an eco-play area. If your playground project needs to celebrate the beauty of nature and promote the importance of preserving the world we live in, wooden equipment is visually apt.

When it comes to obtaining planning permission in shared spaces, wooden equipment may be more acceptable, as it isn’t considered to be an eyesore in protected areas. That is why wooden playground design is ideal for places like a National Trust park.  

Wood is a safe for everyone

Wooden playgrounds are extremely safe. This is something that appeals to parents, and can help to provide peace of mind at school or in the playground.

Wood boasts tactile warmth, with better heat transfer than materials like plastic. So it’s warm when children touch it with their hand, which can be appealing in the colder season.To choose the right material for your project, it’s important to consider your climate and location. But generally speaking, wood is a good all-rounder and can work anywhere in the world.

Hand carved wooden playground equipment

For briefs centered around inclusive play and interactive play, a good option for playground design is including carved wooden features. Additions like carved Totem poles or tactile signs and archways can be a fantastic way for children to interact with one another.

Inclusive play is a concept that provides opportunities for all children to join in. A playground needs to appeal to children from all backgrounds, and of all abilities. For those who are unable to join in with some of the more physical activities, carved wooden equipment provides a fun, sensory experience. One that stimulates the mind, provides a visually appealing sight, and is pleasant to touch, without the physical exertion.

For early childhood play, such as infants and toddlers, who are not big enough to climb, or for children with disabilities, this is a great addition to add to any playground.

Find out more about wooden hand carvings and see how they might look in your playground setting.

Written by: Andy Prentice
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