Natural Playgrounds


Environmental Education Center,  Sloterpark (Amsterdam, 2012), CarveEnvironmental Education Center,  Sloterpark (Amsterdam, 2012), CarvePrinceton (NJ) Friends School villages, by its studentsPrinceton (NJ) Friends School villages, by its studentsValby Park (Copenhagen, 2001) Helle NebelongNebelong Valby 2Donald and Barbara Zucker Nature Exploration Area (ZNEA) , Prospect Park, BrooklynZNEA 3ZNEA 4

The Nature of Nature, by Susan Solomon

Paige’s Note:  As I’m working to close an investment deal at the moment, I’m reminded of how great it is to have Susan Solomon’s columns as a part of Playscapes.  Not just because it helps me fill in the posting gaps when my own schedule reaches its overstretched limits(!), but also because her insight into the American playground scene is erudite, historically informed, and unsurpassed.  In today’s ‘After the Deadline’ column, she touches on an issue that is a thorn in both our sides–discussions of ‘Nature Play’  and ‘Natural Playgrounds’ as if such a thing has just been invented…and by Americans of course!  No, not so.  Nature play and natural playgrounds as a formal idea began in the 19th century, and were strongly emphasized by philanthropists in the 1920s and 1930s concerned about children in cities (they didn’t call it a ‘nature deficit’, but much of the rhetoric is the – Read the rest…


Millshot Close Playscape, Hammersmi...

See recently on a visit to London, this gentle, hilly playscape with with artisan-carved additions for turtles and fish. Billed - Read the rest...

Garfield Park Natural Playscape V 1...

I really like that the new natural playground at the Garfield Park Conservatory is referred to as ‘V 1.0’. Even - Read the rest...

Two Ways Philadelphia is Encouragin...

Paige’s Note: In this month’s ‘After the Deadline’ column play historian and author Susan Solomon continues her investigation of ‘playground - Read the rest...

Skadbergbakken Playground, Helen an...

Norwegian architectural firm Helen and Hard are best known, in the playground world, for their innovative Geopark, which references the - Read the rest...

Natural Playscape, Suzanne van Ginn...

Start your Monday off happy with this lovely video of the kids at OBS woutertje Pieterse in Leiden, Netherlands using their - Read the rest...

Patrick Dougherty Stick Sculpture, ...

Artist Patrick Dougherty’s Stickworks are always play-ful, but the whimsical maze-like construction at the Olympia Hands-on Children’s Museum in Olympia, Washington, - Read the rest...

Terra Nova Playscape, Hapa Collabor...

British Columbia-based LArch and urban design collaborative HAPA and WildPlay have opened a new ‘play experience’ for the city of Richmond, - Read the rest...

Buzzbench, AnneMarie van Splunter, ...

“First of all, one must choose a permanent residence for the bees, …” Virgil: Georgics IV” Playcapes’ friend AnneMarie van - Read the rest...

Reinterpreting the Playground Climb...

Playful architecture round up this week….the ‘grid’ style playground climber is a classic; I’d love to see it reinterpreted in - Read the rest...

Westmoreland Nature Play Area, Port...

One of the great things about natural play features like jumping stones and timber scrambles is that they can be - Read the rest...

Carkeek Park Playground, Barker Lan...

Barker Landscape Architecture is also responsible for the Carkeek Park Playground in Seattle, which references the nearby Piper’s Creek and - Read the rest...

Tractor Playground, Bradner Gardens...

Reader Justin also sent me the link to this Seattle tractor play feature ( a year and a half ago, which - Read the rest...

Vintage Playgrounds of Seattle, Was...

Many thanks to Justin for alerting me to the great flickr set from the City of Seattle’s Municipal Archives, “Seattle - Read the rest...

Secret Garden Playscape, Olson Kund...

The rise of the suburban shopping mall seems to have doomed the department store rooftop playground in the United States - Read the rest...

Make Aldo Leopold's Bench for your ...

As you make your bench, with kid-power of course, everyone can learn about Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) who founded the field of Wildlife - Read the rest...

RFP for Natural Playground from Chi...

And speaking of RFP’s…the Children’s Harbor Montessori School in New York got in touch with their RFP for a natural - Read the rest...

Boulders done right in natural play...

The grant is in, so it is back to playgrounds (and sleeping…shout out to the National Science Foundation who really - Read the rest...

Tilts on the Playground, Kukuk, 200...

Playgrounds-should-not-be-flat means firstly utilizing or creating an interesting ground topography, but secondly it means bending and tilting the surfaces of - Read the rest...

Playground Nests, Kukuk, 2004-2014

It happens only rarely that I am impressed with a firm’s entire body of playground work. But Stuttgart-based Kukuk, founded - Read the rest...

Cherry Blossom Treehouse, Terunobu ...

No one does treehouses like the Japanese…this teahouse by Terunobu Fujimori for the Kiyoharu Shirakaba Museum in Hokuto was constructed specifically - Read the rest...

Radio Boston, Natural Playgrounds

Very happy to be on RadioBoston yesterday with Ruth Graham to discuss natural playgrounds…you can listen here!