Are ‘natural’ playgrounds better?

Link to a 2004 article which used GPS/GIS systems to compare 5-7 year olds who played in a natural environment versus a traditional playground.
“When provided with a natural landscape in which to play, children showed a statistically significant increase in motor fitness. There were also significant differences between the two groups in balance and co-ordination in favor of the experimental group. The findings indicate that landscape features influence physical activity play and motor development in children “
[Images above also from FreePlay, of a Freiburg park. City officials there have decided to replace aging conventional playgrounds with natural play spaces that incorporate mounds, ditches, fallen trees, rocks and bushes. Related 2005 article in the Independent]

One Response to “Are ‘natural’ playgrounds better?”

  1. Anita said:

    I am a landscape architect in my profession we are almost forced to design with standard out-of-the-box playground equipment because these structures are designed with all the safety codes and regulations in mind. Therfore, park departments expect us to use these plastic structures. I can hardly call this “design” it is just picking out a nice product from a cataloge.
    I finally decided to educate myself about all those safety regulations and start designing Natural Playgrounds so I can be creative and the kids don’t have to play in a plastic environment. I am not the only one delving into Natural Playground design there are several other companies. For more information check out

    My company is called LandCurrent other companies that offer creative playgrounds are: the Natural Playground company and Leathers. If you know of any others please post it here, because we need as many resources as possible to get away from plastic playgrounds. I am convinced that natural playgrounds are the new revolution in playground design, they are safer, cheaper, healthier for our kids and above all more fun!

    Anita Van Asperdt

    November 07, 2008 at 10:01 pm

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