Wicksteed does it naturally…
Aware of the importance of landscape within playground design, Wicksteed Playgrounds takes a sensitive and creative approach to the natural layout of play areas.
Working closely with the customer to achieve the optimum effect in a given landscape, coupled with imagination and best play value, Wicksteed's creative tream of graphic and landscape designers will:
- Define a brief that fully realises clients' aspirations
- Exploit the spatial potential
- Take a holistic approach to the transformation of a site, remaining sensitive to the landscape
- Create bespoke elements to enhance the environment in the most imaginative way
- Encourage individuality where possible
With Wicksteed’s clear and concise understanding of play types, the company is able to accommodate children’s social, physical, intellectual, creative and educational needs into their play schemes, whilst also giving consideration to the social and environmental needs of the area. Engaging with the natural surroundings and landforms, Wicksteed provides the perfect playscape combining both natural and prescribed play.
It is widely recognised that the elements available in a natural setting provide lots of opportunities for kids to explore. They are somehow conditioned to scramble in and out of wooded areas, climb up and roll down slopes, play hide-and-seek in and out of the trees. Other physical experiences, such as bouncing, rolling and running about in the fresh air are all key to keeping our kids fit, healthy and balanced. All this kind of activity can keep them amused for hours, but there’s no doubt that some challenging play equipment interspersed in the natural settings brings another dimension to a child’s world of play and exploration.
Wendy Russell, Lecturer in Playwork at the University of Gloucestershire, and adviser to Wicksteed Playgrounds on play, says: “The benefits of children being able to play freely outdoors are enormous. There is much more to play than learning skills for adult life. Research shows that play, being spontaneous, non-literal and not particularly aimed at any outcome, helps children to build a repertoire of responses to the things they encounter in their lives as children. In their play, children deliberately seek out uncertainty (hanging upside down, getting dizzy, playing scary imaginative chase games and so on), the important thing being the emotions they can experience whilst doing this. This helps to develop a disposition – a way of approaching the world – that is flexible rather than rigid, as well as things like emotion regulation, peer and place attachments and stress response systems that make for a better childhood as well as a better future.”
Therefore, a playscape which includes undulations, trees, bushes and grassy areas is the perfect palette upon which to create a fantastic combination of both natural and man-made playing areas. However, should a site not possess any form of natural elements, it is possible to artificially create a more exciting landscape. By designing and building mounds, planting shrubs and trees, for instance, and even incorporating slides, tunnels, chutes and boulders into the enhanced area a terrific range of physical and mental activity can be provided.