Boulders done right in natural playgrounds by Kukuk

The grant is in, so it is back to playgrounds (and sleeping…shout out to the National Science Foundation who really could simplify their process…’only’ 110 hours this time and that’s a personal best!)

Before we get too far away from Kukuk, I wanted to highlight their use of boulders.  As the interest in natural playgrounds has increased over the last decade, many RFPs now require ‘natural elements’.  And the answer of some playground designers has been to scatter some rounded stones in the grass, looking like so many bird droppings, check the ‘natural elements’ box, and call it good.  We can do better than that!

As I’ve said before, merely including rocks and stumps doesn’t make for a great design.  So learn from Kukuk’s more thoughtful use of stone on the playground.  The main point is that the boulders are full participants in the play…integrated with all the other elements of climbers, sand, water, walls…so that the child is constantly moving up and over and down and around, even on their way to something else.    In Kukuk’s work, boulders aren’t detached blobs scattered loosely around the space.  They’re physically attached…as part of a timber climber or a seat or a challenging entry to a playhouse or a sand surround or a bridge or a watercourse.

Most people are now including boulders in their playscapes (if you’re not, you’ve definitely missed a trend).  Doing so more thoughtfully can add so much more play value with no added cost!

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