The term 'nature play' is interesting, having grown up in an environment where the word 'play' predominantly meant playing outside in a natural setting. Ian was told '"go outside and play", rather than "come inside and play" even if it was pouring with rain. Why is it that now the word 'play' needs to be specifically defined as 'nature play', and 'play' means something completely different? Ian's fondest childhood memories of play occurred in creeks, climbing through bushland, exploring rocky outcrops for caves, digging, creating and enjoying the natural environment. Having been fortunate to grow up on the doorstep at Morialta Conservation Park made that easy. With greater awareness of the importance of playing within and with natural material, what has been lost to the last generation we aim to restore for the next.
At Naturespace Consulting we look at 'Nature play' from a holistic approach. We design and advise with consideration not only for the users, but also the key stakeholders. We know that substantial financial investment, volunteer time, and sometimes fund-raising are required for any 'nature play' space. Therefore it is important that the space is economical to maintain, structurally sound, and has longevity. The success of any play space can be measured by the use it receives, the benefits it provides, and its ability to withstand the rigours of children's creative play. Naturespace Consulting believes children need a combination of fixed and loose part play elements made from both natural and synthetic materials. This might mean one space combining both, or a specific space for one that is close by to the other.
Due to Ian's lifelong passion for the natural landscape, we have been designing and building natural play spaces for clients long before 'nature-play' become a popular yet vital movement. In those early days it meant convincing clients the benefits to play on natural logs and boulders based on 'healthy risk' for children, rather than the perceived risks of the day. Back then there was no research based evidence that is available now, instead it was through a love of the natural environment and childhood memories that drove Ian to convince clients to follow the natural path. Naturespace Consulting's play spaces look to provide a variety of active 'healthy risk', sensory stimulation, mindfulness experiences, and open space for children to run and be kids.
We also think deeper about nature play spaces, and allow children the opportunities to appreciate the plants and environment within the space. Scientific research is now showing that plants, like us, have cognitive function and are able to communicate and learn in response to their environment. We aim to help cure 'plant blindness' in today's children, allowing them to remember that plants are living organisms, and not just something that can be climbed on or neglected.
'Nature play' spaces and outdoor learning environments are one of the purist forms of landscaping and require a designer to call on construction experience to ensure build-ability and longevity. Let Naturespace Consulting assist with your project and you will have the knowledge and experience to design and guide you to create a space that is not only fun and beneficial but unique, inclusive and meets Australian Standards.