What the play area of the future should be like?
Lars Laj designers have prepared for you a 6-step guide on how to create a playground of the future: a natural and eco-friendly place that brings children close to nature. Let’s check what essential criteria the playground should meet to be ECO FRIENDLY!
6 STEPS for Eco Playground
STEP 1 for Eco Playground: Environmental Education
Education is the key to changing the World! Recycling, permaculture, upcycling, zero-waste … - all these ideas are still something new for us, grown-ups. We are slowly altering our bad habits, often forgetting what we’ve just learnt and making mistakes during the process. However, if we encourage our children to closely observe these efforts, to learn about the environment, and grow to respect and care for nature - then what is still so difficult for us, for them will be pretty easy and natural!
Our suggestion of playground equipment we need to cultivate environmental awareness in children:
- VEGETABLE GARDEN: to closely observe the roots, how the plants grow and what happens underneath the surface.
- PLANT CASES: to learn how to grow our own vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers.
- BIRD FEEDER: to observe the local birds’ behaviors, feed them in winter, learn about their songs and habits.
- MAGNIFYING GLASS: to check from the closer perspective what the flower, fruits or leaves look like.
- WASTE BINS: to take the first steps in recycling.
STEP 2 for Eco Playground: Natural Materials
Eco friendly playgrounds should include play equipment made from ecological materials. For manufacturing our products we use mainly natural wood as well as recycled materials. For instance, rubber tyres are given second life and become an obstacle course.
The wood we use is extremely resistant and solid, nice in touch, easy in maintain, repair and last but not least environmental friendly. Our wood comes from the FSC-certified forests that meet the highest environmental and social standards.
The best choice for eco-friendly playgrounds is the play equipment made from the natural robinia wood. Robinia wood is a characteristic feature of Lars Laj playgrounds from Nature, Dreamworld or Modern Nature product lines.
STEP 3 for Eco Playground: Natural safe surface
We recommend to install eco playgrounds on natural safety surfaces such as sand or grass:
1. Sand (the best is a washed one with a measurement of 0.2-2 mm and a layer of min. 30 cm), bark chippings or a delicate grit with a measurement of 2-8 mm:
- This is not only a natural, but extremely safe surface too! Did you know that on the sand, grit or bark chippings we can install even very tall play equipment? Their critical falling height can exceed 1 m!
- This kind of safe surface is relatively cheap and easy in maintain.
- Apart from standard sandboxes, we offer rims, which enable us to create a sandbox of any shape.
Children love playing with sand, so the safe sand surface can serve as a huge sandbox too. However, if you’d like to design a separate space for playing with sand, we offer wooden beams so you can create a sandbox in any shape you like!
If the playground equipment’s critical falling height does not exceed 1 m, it can be installed directly on the grass! In our offer you can find over 130 of such products: rockets, seesaws, slides, wooden playhouses and many more - check for yourself!
Grass is a friendly solution both for our children and the environment:
- Grass lowers the air temperature and retains the moisture in the soil. That’s why when it’s hot and dry, walking on the grass cools and comforts the little feet.
- Grass constitutes an ecosystem for insects and small animals.
- Grass emits oxygen.
If there is a space left, it is a good idea to situate near the playground some stools, tables, chairs, hammocks, firepit seatings or firehouses to create a place for recreation and relaxation for all.
STEP 4 for Eco Playground: Diverse Landscape
Natural hills are fantastic places for children for climbing, rolling, running and sliding. Let’s use the natural potential of the landscape and create a unique playground! Our designers can help you and advise which playground items should be installed only on the flat surface and which are made for the natural hills.
We offer at least 30 special play units which can be installed on the hills - check for instance Hekla! Our designers can also create for you a special playground project that will meet your needs and requirements.
STEP 5 for Eco Playground: Plants
On the eco playground we cannot miss greenery but it is worth to consciously choose the plant species:
- trees with spreading crowns (chestnut, hawthorn, rowan, oak or maple) will provide protection against the sun and light rain,
- dense shrubs (tawula, cypress or dogwood) will be perfect as a natural hedge, which will separate and protect the playground from city noise as well as become a friendly nesting place for birds,
- plants which stimulate the senses are also the good choice: the best are the fragrant (violets, lilacs, thyme or jasmine), colorful (physalis, dogwood, rowan or plane tree) flowers with different textures (heliotrope with rough leaves or pine with soft needles),
- we cannot forget about the insects pollinating flowers: plants such as dandelion, thyme, cornflower, phlox, raspberry or bird cherry will attract bees and butterflys to the playground.
Poisonous plants must not be planted on the playground (these include, for example, yews, datura plants, snow flies, mistletoe, euonymus, lilies of the valley, monkshood, broom or genera). We should also avoid the species having thorns and sharp or brittle twigs (barberry, spruce, roses, hawthorn or black locust).
Flowers and vegetables can be easily planted in wooden cases. To avoid waste, our plant cases are manufactured from the wooden parts which had remained after the production of other Lars Laj playground units. Nothing wasted.
STEP 6 for Eco Playground: Sand and Water Play
Toys for sand and water play activity are the absolute must-haves for any eco playground!
Playing with sand and water is not only a great fun for children, especially the youngest, but also an opportunity to develop sensory integration, manual skills and imagination as well as make new friends. For playing with sand and water we recommend traditional sandboxes or whole sand sets with bucket and crane.
We recommend traditional sandboxes or the wooden sets with a sink, metal buckets and a crane pulley system. Even the smallest playground can become a place full of attractions if we add just a few devices for playing with sand and water!