Playground equipment: why wood is superior to metal

When it comes to design, the two main priorities of a playground are its focus on safety and sustainability. For children using them, they aren’t as concerned about the design of the playground, but more concerned about how fun and interactive the play area is. So, when designing a play area, it is important to consider safety, sustainability and fun. When combining these things – wooden equipment is superior to all others. 

Developing a playground

When children play on a playground made from wood, it provides them with a connection to nature; particularly great when they may not usually have access to outdoor spaces. They are usually supported by natural structures such as trees – so they keep children within a natural environment and teach them about the importance of remaining closely connected to nature. 

Playgrounds help to promote motor skills, social interaction and problem solving within a team. When interacting with natural shapes and materials, a child on a wooden playground is able interact with their natural environment while playing. Wooden playgrounds can incorporate all elements of play within nature, and can also include a sandy area, water channels and a rocky area – promoting creativity and team work in a natural setting. 

Building a sustainable playgroundclimbing frame

As a sustainable solution, wood is a reliable option in comparison to metal as it is both renewable and recyclable. As its moisture content is below 20%, timber does not rot, so as long as it is looked after timber will last a long time if it is cared for properly. Some argue that metal structures are more durable as they do not wear and tear so easily, but they can injure children if they have sharp edges. 

Poor drainage can also cause problems for a wooden playground, so drainage and water solutions need to be considered before a wooden playground is implemented. 

As a designer of natural play areas based in the UK, Infinite Playgrounds use recycled materials incorporating timbers and other original shapes into larger and more natural settings to produce an authentic play area. For example, they use logs and other natural materials as climbing frames – producing a low carbon footprint for their clients and the public. 

A practical and versatile solution

Excellent for development, wooden play areas make the most of a child’s playtime. This is because these types of frames confront ‘risky’ types of play, help build team-work skills and help strengthen hand-eye coordination skills. 

A wooden play area can provide greater traction and doesn’t get as hot when exposed to the sunlight either; whereas a metal playground can exert extreme levels of heat and can burn in extreme cases. 

Wooden structures are more specific to a user’s needs as they are bespoke, unlike a metal structure which comes in a pre-set shape and size. As a bespoke fitting, this makes them perfect for smaller areas – as they fit comfortably into the space that is required, such as a National Trust Park or a school playground. 

Due to their versatility, they’re easily upgradeable too, as new additions can be incorporated into the design without compromising the original structure. This makes them great for anyone who wants to build a natural wonderland for children to learn and explore.

April 18, 2017

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