by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
The old playgrounds in some parks in Denver, Colorado, in the USA, might look a lot different in the coming years when they are replaced as the Parks and Recreation department is focusing on nature play options in its parks moving forward.
Natural playgrounds, made of “recycled” trees and boulders (the recycled seems to mean, in the statement from the city, that the trees were not burned or otherwise destroyed), have become a popular option over traditional playgrounds with slides, monkey bars and swings, and Denver Parks and Recreation has multiple natural playground projects planned.
Studies have shown that when children go to a traditional playground, they get bored quickly, whereas with nature play done well, they stay longer and come back more frequently.
It is a shame though that we have to create a fake natural setting for them and children no longer have much of an opportunity to actually play in Nature proper. But this is better than the sterile environments of the old-style traditional playgrounds with kind of play equipment that does not give much room for imagination and spontaneity of play as they can only be used for one thing or another, really.
Denver's projects are designed by Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds, a Canadian company that has built natural play areas worldwide since the 1980s.
The wood comes from trees that come from city parks or from trees the city has to take down elsewhere. The boulders come from Urban Drainage. The trees are secured into place, just above the ground, and mulch will cover the separation between the ground the and log. This will help preserve the wood for a 15-to-25-year life span.
This should really be the way to go for children's play areas in parks and elsewhere though there may also be still a place for the more traditional swings, slides, monkey bars, seesaws, etc., though swings could also be created in a more natural way.