Playforce gets back to nature with new, natural approach to outdoor play
Following the successful launch of its redesigned low and high-level timber fitness trail equipment, and Woodland Village range, Playforce is working with landscape architects and schools to promote the benefits of natural play.
Dr Colin MacAdam, Managing Director of Playforce says, “We’ve always maintained that ensuring children have a well-planned outdoor environment, in which to learn, is key to their educational, social and mental health development. For too long, ‘natural play’ has been viewed as the privilege of rural schools able to take advantage of the surrounding countryside. Our new natural play approach works with all schools to present flexible, imaginative opportunities for everyone by integrating fixed and loose play equipment with sensitive, practical planting.”
Dr MacAdam went on to say, “Importantly, this isn’t just for schools with extensive grounds. We often work with urban schools and all of our natural equipment can be used on tarmac or concrete just as easily as in the countryside, bringing a little bit of nature into an otherwise man-made environment.”
The modular elements can be customised and joined up with other areas of the play area, ensuring that this new approach works well in almost any setting. Once installation has been completed, Playforce will supply vouchers which can be redeemed against plants at almost any garden centre in the UK. They’ll even send guides to help you choose and can advise on ways to achieve specific objectives as part of their recognised consultancy process.
Dr MacAdam explained an additional feature, “We want our natural play schemes to be more than simply fixed equipment and planter beds. We recognise that schools need play areas to be flexible and adaptable to different needs. That’s why all schemes come equipped with a number of loose parts. Depending on the scheme these might include tarpaulins, ropes, hazel sticks for den making, hammocks, log seats and stepping stones.”
Playforce’s natural play range uses pressure-treated FSC certified timber. Having been pressure treated, the timber is protected against fungal decay and insect attack.. Robinia (curved natural) timber has been used as well as sanded straight timber and large ropes rather than timber sleepers are used to create curved planting beds.
Alison Brown, Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute, said: “The new natural play schemes from Playforce recognise that play is not always about climbing and boisterous activity. It’s refreshing to see equipment that is designed to be flexible in use, that incorporates loose parts that children can manipulate themselves, and that they can plant themselves to enhance the landscape. The Playforce schemes allow children to create spaces and journeys that are child-sized and different every day.
[These] schemes are simple to install in almost any setting, affording unique and open-ended play experiences for children at school and nursery.”
Learn more about Playforce visit: www.playforce.co.uk
Date: 25 May 2012