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Why wooden playground equipment is superior

Craig Boyle from Infinite Playgrounds says that wooden playground is safer and more comfortable than metal

Posted by Lucinda Reid | May 03, 2017 | Health & wellbeing

When it comes to designing playground equipment for children, two considerations remain constant: safety and sustainability. This is because children focus on the interactivity of the play area, whilst deciding how ‘fun’ it is to use. With these things in mind, wooden playground equipment can be considered superior to other materials that are available.

Environmentally friendly

As wood is both a renewable and a sustainable material, it is an environmentally-friendly solution when it comes to playground equipment. The moisture content in timber is below 20%, and this means that as a material it will last for a long period of time if cared for correctly. Even though when compared to metal structures, timber does not last as long, a metal playground frame can begin to rust and endanger a child’s safety with sharp edges. To get the most out of a wooden design, timbers should be regularly treated and maintained to prevent any risk of rot within the structure.

As a UK designer of bespoke tree houses, Infinite Playgrounds take timbers from recycled structures in order to create original structures that utilise the natural shape of the wood in the design. Resulting in a low carbon footprint, they use fallen logs as part of a climbing frame structure to make the most of natural woodlands, for example.

Childhood development

When natural play area designs utilise natural woodland structures, they provide children with a connection to nature. This is because children can interact with a natural structure, and they are exposed to materials that they may not usually play on with their friends, keeping children in touch with the great outdoors.

 

Helping children to develop gross motor skills and sociability skills, playgrounds aim to get the most out of young children when they are learning – promoting cooperation and problem-solving

Helping children to develop gross motor skills and sociability skills, playgrounds aim to get the most out of young children when they are learning – promoting cooperation and problem-solving. With a wooden playground design, children can interact with natural shapes and materials – which means they can learn about their own natural environments while they are having fun. Incorporating all the natural elements of play, wooden playgrounds can include sandy areas, water channels or a rocky area.

Practical and versatile play

Children can improve their fitness levels when playing on a wooden climbing frame, and they are able to confront often ‘risky’ types of play within a safe environment. As a surface that they can play on, wood is less cold to the touch – and metallic equipment surfaces do not provide sufficient traction for those wanting to play. Metal can also become very hot – often resulting in uncomfortably play.

Wooden playgrounds are more bespoke than their metal counterparts – this is because metal structures usually come in moulded set-shapes, whereas wood can be incorporated into natural settings to fit the required space easily. Within a limited amount of space, wooden playgrounds are perfect in school playgrounds – or within a National Trust park. Without disrupting the original structure of the wooden playground, other additions can be included without much fuss – making them a versatile, and redesigned when necessary. Unlike metallic playgrounds that need to be torn down and rebuilt, a wooden structure is more malleable to the needs of the children and the space available.

Any play area that incorporates natural materials should be safe, fun, and durable. Wooden playgrounds can offer an environmentally friendly alternative to metal playgrounds, whilst being fully customisable – which means you can install a playground that is specific and customised to the space and natural setting surrounding it.

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