-Build a NATURAL PLAYSCAPE-

Natural rock climbing wall and see-saw

This natural playscape includes a rock wall and see-saw made from natural materials.

Edgecombe Community College Playscape

Tarboro, NC

 Edgecombe County

The Early Education Department at Edgecombe Community College recently expanded its curriculum outside the classroom with a new natural playscape. Natural playscapes are outdoor playgrounds for children that include stumps, logs, sticks, and rocks versus traditional slides, monkey bars, and swings. These minimalist playgrounds help kids develop fine and gross motor skills. Children can experience more creative play time on such playscapes because the loose structure allows the space to be different every time. Play areas can range in size depending on the space and funds available. Edgecombe CC’s playscape was built adjacent to a wetlands trail on the community college’s campus. It includes stumps of various heights, a rustic see-saw, a wooden climbing wall, logs, and a small, off-the-ground platform with a ladder. The community college chose this high traffic area right in front of the wetlands trail to promote community usage of both the trail and the playscape. The natural playground serves as an educational tool for early education students, as well as a source of entertainment and physical activity for local youth.

If you haven’t decided on a location, choose an area that already has a lot of foot traffic in a central, populated area. Trails are a great place to start. The area doesn’t have to be big or include every component you would find in a traditional playground. Something as simple as a ring of stumps, rows of logs, and piles of rocks can make up a natural playscape. Be mindful of your space and the type of land you have; you don’t need a perfectly flat, cleared out plot of land to put in a playscape. A small hill can turn into a slide, a wooded area can turn into an obstacle course, and leftover sticks and rocks can turn into natural toys. Playscapes are all about being resourceful and using what you have to your advantage. The beauty is no two playscapes look alike!

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