PART V: How to use purchased equipment to bring nature into inclusive playgrounds
Many of the playground manufacturers have come out with different pieces of equipment that are “nature-inspired”. These can be great solutions for bringing nature into your inclusive playground. Almost all of the manufacturers have boulders in all different sizes and textures. Many of them of connected the boulders with rope to create a challenging climbing activity. For the next couple of weeks, I will introduce you to a few products from different manufacturers. Remember, these pieces by themselves do not make an inclusive/accessible playground–but as a part of a whole they can bring great play value to your playground.
We will start with Landscape Structure’s Tree house. The tree house is a primarily a climbing structure. It provides many different levels of graduated challenge to climb up to the top. There is a transfer platform and stairs, a planked ladder, and climbing on the tree itself. There is a slide that goes down that keeps up with the theme of a tree house as it is held up by tree branches.
There are a variety of sensory experiences to explore. There are animals hidden within the tree to reach out and touch. There is a place where the tree branch looks like it was cut off and there a child will find an Age Ring Tracing Panel. There are also talking tubes built into the tree.
It is easy to imagine the different dramatic play children will come up with while playing on this structure. Adults are clearly warned that this is a place for kids–with the roof reading “Kids Only”.
The tree house is made about of Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete which provides the ability to give a very realistic look and touch.