It is often overlooked that landscaping is something that people of all ages can enjoy, and when we say all ages, we include children. In fact, not only can children enjoy landscaped gardens, but the whole concept can be taken a stage further by creating activity and play areas for them within a landscaping design.
When we say play area, we are not just talking about having an area of the lawn that you designate as the place in the garden where they can play with their toys. Instead, we mean that you can create activity and play areas that are not only fun for them, but which can help educate them and promote their physical and mental development through play and activities.
There are several reasons why these kinds of areas are so beneficial to children. The first obvious one is that they are outdoors in the fresh air, rather than stuck away in some stuffy indoor classroom or play area.
Second, is the fact in a landscaped activity or play area, children are as close to nature as can be. The natural world has a unique fascination for children, and truly sparks their curiosity and willingness to learn more.
The final reason is that learning is a better experience when it is fun and undertaking activities that are fun within a landscaped garden is always going to mean more to a child than sitting listening to a teacher or even a parent.
So, now we know why we want to have an activity or play area within our landscaping design, the next question is ‘How?’. Well, the first step, as with any successful project is to plan and prepare properly.
Obviously, there are an almost infinite number of options you can include within your design, so we are not going to say specifically what activities or games you should have in there.
What you should do though is to assess the children who are going to be using the activity or play area. Whether that be your own children, a pre-school centre that you are responsible for, or if you are planning this for a school, each will require different considerations.
These will apply to decisions with regards to the ages of the children, what level of supervision may be needed, the size of the area, its location, and obviously, what budget is available.
A great way to find some ideas as to what to include in the area is to ask the children who are going to be using it. No doubt they will come out with wonderfully imaginative ideas, some of which will be impossible to implement, you will be pleasantly surprised how many workable ideas they come up with.
Some considerations need to be given to including soft areas where children can literally just be children and tumble, fall and crawl, as well as some in which the emphasis is on their education. These will include plants, flowers, vegetables, and other fauna, and if possible, try to vary these as much as possible.
As for playhouses and other play areas, old favourites like slides, swings, roundabouts and see-saws are all going to be popular, but as this is a landscaping design using rope swings tied to a tree, and even a treehouse, provided the access to them is safe, will also be fun for children.