An Early Natural Playground Advocate from 1926


“May I make a plea for a greater use of things as they are? The original valley was attractive and would have given more area for play…Here was a natural bird retreat, which has now a bird house–a good thing in itself, of course, but why destroy the natural to gain the artificial?
This valley was a natural walk and a few years ago might have been made into a pleasing gateway to the park. It would have wound by the brookside where one could enjoy the wild plants….Let us get away from the obsession that we must artificialize the entire play areas.”
“Mother Nature’s Invitation”, by William G. Vinal, in The Playground Magazine, March, 1926.
It would appear that natural playgrounds are hardly a new idea.
[text from the online archives of the Library of Congress, photo from the flickr photostream of Tim Gill. ‘Richmond Park in West London: one of the capital’s royal parks, where the rangers appear relaxed about den and shelter building’]

3 Responses to “An Early Natural Playground Advocate from 1926”

  1. Hyuma said:

    Nice blog. Do unauthorized playgrounds qualify for your consideration?

    Nimis, Ladonia, in Sweden is a fantastic group of structures that are constantly evolving and fascinating to climb in and around. The whole history behind the site is just as interesting. It is constantly under threat of removal by local government.

    October 29, 2009 at 7:45 pm

  2. The Intercontinental Gardener said:

    Just like the “huts” we always built as kids in Finland… and kids there still do; no ready made solution, only your own creativity and nature to play with. Wonderful.

    March 31, 2009 at 1:51 pm

  3. God_Chaser said:

    Hi, just happened to drop by this blog when I was googling for naturalize playground. May I ask if you know of any type of grasslawn that is ADA but yet it’s real planting grass? Does normal grass prevent wheelchair when it’s damp? Don’t really like the idea of syntatic grass.

    March 29, 2009 at 10:15 am

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