Client: Early Learning Centre
Location: St. Thomas, Ontario
Completion Date: Summer 2015
Construction Budget: $100-250,000
A playground design was needed for a child care center that is still in the progress of being developed. With no visible parameters available, the challenge comes with offering an inviting play space design for young children within the boundaries of a tight budget.
In keeping with the centre’s desire for a natural playground, a park-like design was created filled with trees, shrubs, rocks, hills, and logs surrounding assorted play elements containing high play value. This space is to accommodate infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, providing them with opportunities to grow socially, emotionally, and physically while abiding by CSA Children’s Playspaces and Equipment Standard guidelines (CAN/CSAZ614-14).
- Berms: Small hills bring topography and interest to an otherwise flat plot of land. Combining rocks, play posts, hill slide, log steppers, plants and other amenities, small children are enticed to climb, roll, slide, crawl, explore, and experiment while developing gross motor skills.
- Water and Sand Play Area: Water runnel and dry river rock bed offer opportunities to play with water, induce sand creations, and imagine playing alongside a stream bed. A wooden boat attached to dock adds to the fantasy of being at a shoreline.
- Log Climber: A small robinia climbing structure gives the illusion of fallen trees, allowing children to play safely on a natural yet rot-resistant material. Net climber provides more challenge to access structure as child ages.
- Circular Log Fort: Made of cedar posts arranged into a circular shape provides a passive play section for children who wish to socialize in a more ‘enclosed’ environment, possibly wanting to escape from frenetic pace around them.
- Wooden Animals: These small log animals help to give a woodland feel and a ‘personality’ to the playground, allowing children to pretend they are riding on wildlife or just making new friends.
- Various Natural Play Elements: Stage area allows for teaching opportunities and places for children’s performances. Small bridge and hardwood logs with sawn tops provide seating, elevations, and textures for the children to experiment with. Wooden tables offer surface for reading, colouring, or eating a snack. Armor stone rockery double as seating and low-level climbing structures. Play post teepee encourages the use of imagination.
- Music Play: Little ones can express themselves and experiment with music.
- Hiking Trail: Pathway of limestone screenings invites children to various parts of the playground.