Spring is IN THE AIR!!!
It’s no secret that here at Today’s Family, we LOVE outdoor play. And why shouldn’t we? As Early Childhood Educators, we know that children are little balls of energy, and giving them a nice outdoor arena to blow off some steam – instead of, say, a classroom crowded with activity centers – is a strategy almost every parent employs.
And then there’s the whole “fresh air” and “Vitamin D” angle as well. In short, outdoor play is just a great idea.
When we opened a number of new programs and centres across Hamilton, Halton, Haldimand and Norfolk last year, we also knew that we would have many more outdoor spaces to build up for our children. We take these spaces very seriously, and so it was important to choose a construction partner that “gets” the importance of outdoor play.
Enter Earthscape Play, our new best friends.
Earthscape Play built out a number of playscapes for us this previous fall and winter, but today we want to take a stroll over to our Franklin Road centre, where they did an absolutely amazing job at building a fantastic playscape.
The first thing you may notice is that the playground is almost entirely made of wood. If you’re a long-term reader of the blog, this won’t come as much of a surprise: we love our wooden playgrounds! But you might also notice that unlike other previous playscapes, which emphasize natural shapes, this playscape is decidedly more… rectangular?
As it turns out, there’s a reason for this: rectangles fit together a lot better than cylinders. Focusing on rectangular building pieces means that Earthscape Play could build these really interesting formations that interlocked with each other and allow for ample, relatively-safe climbing opportunities.
We say “relatively-safe” because one of the core tenets of Earthscape Play is “Risk.” Giving children multiple ways to interact with the features at varying levels of difficulty has a ton of beneficial effects. “A great deal of research has documented the need for children to have opportunities to take calculated risks, particularly for their physical development and well-being,” Earthscape says on their website. “Playgrounds of late have been excessively cautious and standardized. Extraordinary structures – themed or natural – offer free movement, graduated risk, and challenge.”
We love taking children outdoors because frolicking outside gives our children opportunities to explore their world. Earthscape Play takes that explorational philosophy and applies it to the child’s own body, giving them opportunities to learn what they can and can’t physically do – and growing to the point where they can accomplish those challenges.
As you can see from the pictures, the Franklin Road children absolutely adore their new playscape. And why shouldn’t they? It’s built with them in mind.