Winkworth Arboretum, a National Trust site in Godalming, Surrey, has a new woodland play area – and it was designed by kids! The local Farncombe Scout Group came up with a nature-themed design, which has been built out of sustainably sourced British Oak and Robinia.
The Scouts’ Design
The play area is a continuous course, made up of wooden climbing frames linked by features such as rope, wobbly bridges and balance beams. It has been built around natural features of the site including a staircase carved into a fallen oak trunk. Theres even a den built from thick branches.
Winkworths gardener, and leader of the Scout Group, Tom Wells, said that it closely resembles the childrens idea of a dream adventure playground, and that the children, couldnt be happier, to see their ideas come to life. Wells said that the way the playground fits into the natural environment and makes it even better.
Children need to be physically active. Every week sees new articles raising concerns about levels of activity or screen addiction. Early Years, the organisation for young children, states that physical activity can enhance concentration, movitation, learning and well-being.
Encouraging Outdoor Play
If you dont happen to live near Winkworth Arboretum, you might want to think about having some play equipment in your back garden. Wooden climbing frames come in a range of sizes and styles, with a wide range of which is available from http://www.niclimbingframes.com/climbing-frames.
As the Farncombe Scount Troup know, playing outdoors is a lot of fun but it also gives children valuable skills. As they run, jump, climb and scramble they are developing their motor skills, building strength, stamina and confidence as they meet their own challenges. When they play with other children they also enhance their social skills and make new friendships.
As the Winkworth project has shown, children know what they want from a play area. No matter how times may change, despite the pull of electronic devices, children still enjoy getting out into the fresh air and setting themselves challenges. Spending time in nature is good for them, connecting them with the world around them. Its not just for the kids, either – spending time in the outdoors is a great stress buster and helps lower anxiety and blood pressure. If you havent visited Winkworth Arboretum yet, perhaps its time you did!