Nature-Inspired Playground Design

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Design for participation, education and safety compliance

The benefits of free play and daily exposure to nature have been researched and reported in nearly every media outlet in recent years. Playground planners have an opportunity to create playground spaces that encourage children and families to get outdoors, interact with their environment, learn about their natural surroundings, and encourage the reconnection with nature. The Nature-Inspired Playground Design continuing education session explores the wide range of natural play environments.

We are authorized to provide .1 CEUs, 1 LUs and 1 PDHs, which meet Health, Safety and Welfare credits. We also offer AIA credit including nano units. After this 60-minute Learning Academy session, you’ll have an understanding of the following learning objectives:

  • Play in nature is valuable for healthy child development.
  • Characteristics of natural play environments include wild spaces to school yards and public parks.
  • Maximize participation and learning through specific design considerations and best practice programming.
  • Different safety and accessibility standards apply to various natural playground environments.

Playground products shown in video may not be appropriate for every age group. Playsystems shown in video are for demonstration purposes only. Product configurations may vary.

Video features the National Association of Elementary School Principals as they gather to build a new playground for the Booker T. Washington Elementary School.

[video: a still image of an elevated view looking out to a grass area with bushes and trees in between two buildings. Scene fades to a still image of a ground view of the grassy area between the buildings. Screen fades to black with white text in the center of the screen reading: 2011 NAESP Service Project. New text fades onto the screen reading: BT Washington Elementary School Tampa, Florida. New text fades into the screen reading: Principal Toynita Martinez.]

[video: fade in to volunteers as they walk past the camera around the build site. Volunteers work on different projects all around. A volunteer bends down and waves into the camera with both hands.]

Camera woman: I don’t think um…

[video: fade into a scene of volunteers carrying a large blue tarp together across the build site. Camera pans across the build site where volunteers work on their designated works zones. Several men work together to scrape and surround a stepper with concrete out of a wheelbarrow.]

Man: Woo I think that’s good.

[video: fade into scene of volunteers carrying a blue tarp and stakes towards the camera. The volunteers walk past the camera.]

Camera woman: Good job everybody.

[video: fade in to Toynita speaking to the camera.

Toynita: All right how did this project come to me well my general director of elementary education thought of me, Dee Washington, because she’s known that I’ve always wanted to have an outdoor place where children can go and learn so. I thought it was going to be...I’m thinking you know picnic tables and umbrella here or there. When I saw the little diagram or the drawing of what was going to be I was like...

[video: Toynita makes an excited face. Camera switches to a volunteer woman as she speaks to the camera.]

Woman: This is an incredible opportunity for NAESP principals to come and share with another school work with Landscape Structures. What you’re putting in here is an absolutely phenomenal.

[video: scene fades into several men as they look down at several nature-inspired concrete log benches. The men look at the bench deciding what they would like to do next.]

Man off camera: Maybe taking these suckers out of here.

[video: fade in to a group of men as they all work together to lift the heavy log bench out of the pre-dug holes to lay it on its side.]


[video: scene fades into two men as they hand scoop dirt out of the pre-dug holes. Scene fades into volunteers as they shovel concrete into the holes where the log benches have been placed. Scene fades into a view of a line of children looking out from a balcony at the volunteers as they work. Scene fades to a man as he speaks to the camera.]

Man: We feel this is a way for us to give back to fellow principals and just a chance to get together. Come on through don’t let me get in your way.

[video: the man was to people off camera. The man continues to speak to the camera.]

Man: Love getting out here getting their hands dirty and working with all these people can come from across the United States put together these projects it’s just it’s a great deal.

[video: scene fades into a man walking over to tree with tree trimmers. Scene fades to volunteer women standing by bags of gardening dirt and pre-built garden boxes. Scene fades to a man wheeling a wheelbarrow full of mulch to a man standing beside a AdventureScapes rock climber. The man dumps the wheelbarrow for several men to rake out around the climber.]

Camera woman: Okay Mark I’m proving everybody that you’re working.

Mark: Ok no one’s going to believe that, they’re going to think it was staged.

[video: scene fades into a pan of a log balance beam surrounded by mulch. Camera pans across the build site where the Peak adventure scape has been installed. Scene fades into volunteers as they roll out landscaping tarp. Scene fades into a volunteer as she gathers up a blue tap and walks bas a log crawl tunnel. Scene fades into a woman as she rakes around mulch.]

Woman: Okay, well we’ll get there.

[video: four women work together and carry a blue tarp full of mulch across the build site. Scene fades into the woman as they dump the mulch onto the ground. Scene fades into a close-up of a rake as it moves across the mulch.]

Woman off camera: The ladybugs are awesome.

[video: scene fades into a group of children all sitting at the top of the rock climber.]

Man off camera: We ran over here because we had three kids on it.

[video: scene fades into children sitting and standing around the new ladybug seat steppers. Camera pans across all the children and teachers as they look at the many raise garden boxes installed for them. Scene fades into a top down view over a girl’s shoulder as she plants a plant into a raised garden box. Scene fades into a top down view of a woman as she helps the girl plant another plant into the garden. Scene fades to a still image of a finished garden with new young plants. Scene switch to a still image of a finished garden with flowers, mulch and a bird bath. Scene switch to a mascot shaped like a large pea wearing sunglasses and a backwards hat as they stand by the raised garden boxes.]

[video: scene fades into all the volunteers as they sit at lunch tables inside the school. Scene fades to children as they perform for the volunteers on a stage in the lunch room. Two boys lead a group of kids in a song.]

Two boys: [singing] Sing about Martin.

Class: [singing] Sing about Martin.

Two boys: [singing] Sing about caring.

Class: [singing] Sing about caring.

[video: scene fades in to further on through the song.]

Class: [singing] Sing about loving.

Two boys: [singing] Sing about peace.

[video: scene fades into the class as they all sing and rap together on the stage. The children dance and sing for the volunteers. The crowd cheers for them. Screen fades to black. White text appears in the middle of the screen reading: Thanks for everyone who made this project possible! The Landscape Structures logo fades into the middle of the screen. Text below reads: 888-438-6574.]

We're an Authorized Provider of CEUs

Landscape Structures has been approved as an Authorized Provider by IACET, LA CES™ and AIA.

We're an authorized provider of continuing education credits.

International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET)
2201 Cooperative Way
Suite 600
Herndon, VA 20171

American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)
636 Eye Street NW
Washington, DC 20001-3736

The American Institute of Architects (AIA)
1735 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006-5292

CEU’s will be provided to learners meeting the following requirements:

1. Be present for 95% of the duration of the learning event
2. Participate in activities and discussions throughout
3. Complete assessment with a passing score of 80%
4. Complete feedback/evaluation survey.