Why is natural playground equipment important for early years and preschools?

In recent years, we’ve come to realise the amazing benefits that natural play environments can offer to children. From boosting physical health to improving emotional and social well-being, it’s clear that nature has a special way of nurturing young minds and bodies. Not only does it provide a fun and engaging play area for children, but it also promotes outdoor learning and a connection to nature.

Benefits of Natural Playground Equipment

Promoting physical activity is crucial for children’s overall development, and natural playground equipment such as tree trunks, boulders and adventure trails provide a perfect opportunity for children to engage in physical play. Climbing, running, jumping, and balancing encourages children to use their bodies in new and exciting ways.

When children engage in physical activity on natural playground equipment, they are not only building strength, balance, and coordination but also developing gross motor skills. Gross motor skills are essential for everyday tasks such as walking, running, and jumping, as well as more complex physical activities like sports and even dancing!

Fosters Creativity and Imagination

Natural playground equipment offers endless opportunities for imaginative play. Children can pretend to be explorers in a jungle, build a fort and create their own games, stories, and scenarios, which can be as simple or complex as their imaginations allow.

Encouraging creativity and imagination is important because it helps children develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, and social skills. These skills are essential for success in school and in life, as they enable children to adapt to new situations, collaborate with others, and think outside the box.

Enhances Outdoor Learning

Outdoor learning is becoming increasingly popular in schools and preschools, and playground equipment is a great way to incorporate outdoor learning into the curriculum. Teachers can use the playground as a teaching tool, incorporating science, math, and other subjects into outdoor activities. This type of learning is more engaging and memorable for children than traditional classroom learning.

Furthermore, natural playground equipment can help to spark children’s curiosity about the natural world, which can inspire them to learn more about the environment and the creatures that inhabit it.

Provides Connection to Nature

Through Environmental Play , children can learn how plants grow, how birds live, and how leaves decompose by planting seeds, feeding birds, observing worms, and making compost. These activities not only teach children about the natural world but also help them develop a sense of respect for the environment. By engaging in play like this children can gain a deeper understanding of the importance of protecting the planet and the creatures that inhabit it.

It’s often associated with Forest School days and science lessons, but it can easily be incorporated into other subjects such as maths and English.

Moreover, Eco Play can be a great way to foster creativity and imagination in children. They can use natural materials such as sticks, stones, and leaves to create artwork, sculptures, and other imaginative creations. These activities can also help to develop fine motor skills, spatial awareness, and problem-solving skills.

Natural playground equipment is also a great choice for school playgrounds. It provides a safe and engaging play area for children of all ages. Older children can challenge themselves on the climbing structures, while younger children can explore the sensory elements such as sand and water play equipment.

Natural playground equipment is an excellent choice for early years and preschools. Not only does it provide a fun and engaging play area for children, but it also promotes physical activity, creativity, imagination, and a connection to nature. With its safety, durability, and age-appropriate design, natural playground equipment is perfect for schools and preschools. It also enhances outdoor learning and promotes inclusivity among children.

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