Natural Playgrounds For Preschools

Preschools that encourages children to explore, learn, and develop through nature-based play.

 

Playgrounds Designed with Natural Elements for Preschools

Natural playgrounds for pre-schools are a growing trend in early childhood education that encourages children to explore, learn, and develop through nature-based play. Unlike traditional playgrounds that are made of plastic and metal, natural playgrounds are designed with natural materials such as logs, rocks, sand, and living plants. These playgrounds aim to create a more sensory-rich environment that stimulates a child’s imagination and supports their physical, cognitive, and social development.

One of the key benefits of natural playgrounds is their ability to promote creativity and imaginative play. With an abundance of natural elements, children are encouraged to use their imagination to transform sticks into magic wands, tree stumps into castles, and leaves into currency for make-believe games.

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Click on the elements below to learn more about each component.

Child Care
Log Carved Couch Post Mount Transparent Acrylic Panel 5-Piece Log Clusters Carved Log Chair Durolawn® Portable Water Pump

Log Carved Couch

Log Carved Couch

Description

Nature’s Instruments Carved Log Couches are hand-carved from large hardwood logs as one solid furniture piece and provide young and old with a sense of awe and amazement when sitting in these grandiose, artistic, and natural components.

Developmental Value

Sensory ProcessingSensory Processing: Tactile, Visual, Proprioceptive, Vestibular
MotorMotor: Core Strength, Balance, Coordination, Motor Planning
CognitiveCognitive: Problem-Solving, Focus, Attention
Social/EmotionalSocial/Emotional: Parallel, Joint or Cooperative Play, Turn-Taking, Self-Regulation
CommunicationCommunication: Expressive and Receptive Language

The carved couches can be seen as a piece of furniture or in a child’s eyes, a climbing structure. Either situation offers nice motor planning, balance and coordination and great tactile input. The armrests allow children additional support when they are climbing or stabilizing themselves on the carved chair. When used as a climbing structure it offers nice vestibular and proprioceptive input.

Post Mount Transparent Acrylic Panel

Post Mount Acrylic Panel

Description

Use an post mount transparent acrylic panel as a fence panel to separate two spaces in your playground. All acrylic boards are 4’x8′ framed in cedar. Custom sizes available.

Developmental Value

Sensory Processing
Sensory Processing: Tactile, Visual, Proprioceptive, Vestibular
Motor
Motor: Eye Hand Coordination, Balance, Coordination, Crossing at the Midline, Motor Planning
Cognitive
Cognitive: Focus, Attention, Comprehension
Social/Emotional
Social/Emotional: Parallel, Joint or Cooperative Play, Turn-Taking, Self-Regulation
Communication
Communication: Expressive and Receptive Language

The size of the post mount transparent acrylic panel allows children to have a great range of motion when painting. Children can paint 4 feet up and 8 feet across. For children with core balance issues, painting on this outdoor panel is a subtle way at supporting their goals. For a more directed approach the large size of the acrylic board can also support children to walk, skip, hop and/or run along the side of the board while chalking providing many types of sensory experiences all in one activity. The acrylic board can be installed as a fence panel or a few feet higher to accommodate for a wheelchair.

5-Piece Log Clusters

Log Clusters

Description

Nature’s Instruments Log Clusters are a unique collection of logs crafted with varying heights and diameters that can act as a retaining wall, part of a log border, a gathering space, and a physical challenge all at once. Crafted from natural hardwood logs, our 5-piece vertical log clusters offer versatile play opportunities that range from balancing and leaping to quiet exploration of the shapes and textures of nature.

Developmental Value

Sensory Processing
Sensory Processing: Tactile, Visual, Proprioceptive, Vestibular
Motor
Motor: Core Strength, Upper Body strength, Balance, Coordination, Crossing at the Midline
Cognitive
Cognitive: Problem-Solving, Focus, Attention, Comprehension
Social/Emotional
Social/Emotional: Parallel, Joint or Cooperative Play, Turn-Taking, Self-Regulation
Communication
Communication: Expressive and Receptive Language

Log clusters are open to so many opportunities. It’s seating, climbing and dramatic play all rolled into one. It enhances balance, coordination, motor planning, while offering vestibular, proprioceptive, and tactile input. These clusters also offer hard surfaces for table top activities.

Carved Log Chair

Carved Log Chair

Description

Nature’s Instruments Carved Log Armchairs are hand-carved from large tree stumps as one solid furniture piece and provide young and old with a sense of awe and amazement when sitting in these grandiose, artistic, and natural ‘thrones’.

*Debarking of component available for a fee.

Developmental Value

Sensory Processing
Sensory Processing: Tactile, Visual, Proprioceptive, Vestibular
Motor
Motor: Core Strength, Balance, Coordination, Motor Planning
Cognitive
Cognitive: Problem-Solving, Focus, Attention
Communication
Social/Emotional: Parallel, Joint or Cooperative Play, Turn-Taking, Self-Regulation
Social/Emotional
Communication: Expressive and Receptive Language

The carved chairs can be seen as a piece of furniture or in a child’s eyes, a climbing structure. Either situation offers nice motor planning, balance and coordination and great tactile input. The armrests allow children additional support when they are climbing or stabilizing themselves on the carved chair. When used as a climbing structure it offers nice vestibular and proprioceptive input.

Durolawn®

Durolawn®

Description

Durolawn® is a rubber matting system that is installed on top of grass, and after a few months the grass grows through and the mats disappear. This product protects the crowns of the roots of your grass ensuring its survival. Are you looking for a playground surface that is accessible this product is for you – no more barriers or retaining systems are needed to separate your surfacing!

Developmental Value

Different textures offer a variety of sensory experiences for both hands, and feet. Children can quickly adapt to the amount of pressure and control that is needed to walk, crawl, run and jump on the different surfaces. Whole body experiences are even possible when children roll on the grass and play in the sand and/or soil. Adding different surfaces also provides olfactory input. A variety of the surfaces can be easily manipulated by children (sand, mulch, river rock, soil, logs) enabling them to engage in heavy work activities. The use of shovels and wheelbarrows can add to the heavy work performed by the children when moving sand, mulch, river rock, soil and logs.

Portable Water Pump

Portable Water Pump

Description

Nature’s Instruments Portable Water Pump brings water to an outdoor space. This ships fully assembled with a removable bucket to provide water at a measurable pace. This component can be toted to a sand area and then stored when not needed. The bilge pump is able to handle water mixed with sand and dirt and can be operated by school age children.

Developmental Value

Sensory Processing
Sensory Processing: Auditory, Tactile, Visual, Proprioceptive, Vestibular

Motor

Motor: Eye Hand Coordination, Core Strength, Upper Body Strength, Balance, Coordination, Crossing at the Midline, Motor Planning

Cognitive

Cognitive: Problem-Solving, Focus, Attention

Social/Emotional

Social/Emotional: Parallel, Joint or Cooperative Play, Turn-Taking, Self-Regulation

Communication

Communication: Expressive and Receptive Language

This activity requires children to pump water while they organize the hose for the water to come out. Children can work together to make the pump work or can problem-solve how to make it work on their own. The pumping motion takes strength and balance to complete. It’s a great activity that provides both proprioceptive and vestibular skills where balance and movement are coordinated.

Child Care
Log Tunnel Portable Water Pump Wacky Posts Vertical Log Border 5 Foot Easy Install Wave Hill Slide Durolawn® Stump Activity Table Portable Ball Run Log Forts Horizontal Log Borders Chalk Board Acrylic Mirror Panels

Log Tunnel

Log Tunnel

Description

Perfect for infant and toddler playgrounds, the Log Tunnel is made from a solid hardwood log and ships at a 30″-36″ diameter at a length of 30″-36″. We offer a public and private installation versions of this component. Larger tunnels are available as a custom item, please contact us for pricing information.

Developmental Value

Sensory Processing
Sensory Processing: Tactile, Visual, Proprioceptive, Vestibular
Motor
Motor: Eye-Hand Coordination, Core Strength, Balance, Coordination, Motor Planning
Cognitive
Cognitive: Problem-Solving, Focus, Attention
Social/Emotional
Social/Emotional: Parallel, Joint or Cooperative Play, Turn-Taking, Self-Regulation
Communication
Communication: Expressive and Receptive Language

Tunnels are fun for all ages! It’s fun to crawl, walk and run through and gives children the opportunity to practice their motor planning skills while moving through the tunnel. This helps a child develop core strength and body coordination skills. The tunnel is rough on the outside and smooth on the inside, providing contrasting sensory experiences. Children can use the tunnel for playing with another child or use it as a quiet space to reflect. Children can also climb the outside of the tunnel – providing more strength and motor planning opportunities.

Portable Water Pump

Portable Water Pump

Description

Bring water to an outdoor space with our portable water pump! This ships fully assembled, and since it is portable you can place it near a sand surface or sensory table! This pump is able to handle water mixed with sand and dirt.

Developmental Value

Sensory ProcessingSensory Processing: Auditory, Tactile, Visual, Proprioceptive, Vestibular
MotorMotor: Eye Hand Coordination, Core Strength, Upper Body Strength, Balance, Coordination, Crossing at the Midline, Motor Planning
CognitiveCognitive: Problem-Solving, Focus, Attention
Social/EmotionalSocial/Emotional: Parallel, Joint or Cooperative Play, Turn-Taking, Self-Regulation
CommunicationCommunication: Expressive and Receptive Language

This activity requires children to pump water while they organize the hose for the water to come out. Children can work together to make the pump work or can problem-solve how to make it work on their own. The pumping motion takes strength and balance to complete. It’s a great activity that provides both proprioceptive and vestibular skills where balance and movement are coordinated.

Wacky Posts

Wacky Posts

Description

Nature’s Instruments Wacky Posts are irregularly shaped posts hewn from trees with large knots and twists, and encourage creative and dramatic play. With the imagination and creativity of children, these simple posts are transformed into store fronts, forts mazes and frames for leaf or snow forts. This item requires installation.

Developmental Value

Sensory ProcessingSensory Processing: Tactile, Visual, Proprioceptive, Vestibular
MotorMotor: Eye-Hand Coordination, Core Strength, Upper Body Strength, Balance, Coordination, Crossing at the Midline, Motor Planning
CognitiveCognitive: Problem-Solving, Focus, Attention, Comprehension
Social/EmotionalSocial/Emotional: Parallel, Joint or Cooperative Play, Turn-Taking, Self-Regulation
CommunicationCommunication: Expressive and Receptive Language

These simple, carved posts add so much to a natural playground. This component supports dramatic play, expressive language, gross motor development, social skills and sensory skills. Wacky posts offer nice structural supports for building forts that engage children in working together, problem-solving and expressing themselves. These forts can be carried over into a dramatic play by simply adding natural loose parts or large swaths of fabric, reinforcing children’s creative, expressive and social skills. The wacky posts also offer a tactile experience with contrasting smooth and knotted textures and an irregularly curved shape. Children can also try and climb the posts, an activity that supports the development of core and upper body strength. Adding ropes or slack lines between the posts is another fun and simple way to support balance, core strength, upper body strength, coordination and motor planning.

Vertical Log Border

Vertical Log Border

Description

The vertical cedar log borders are sold in 1.2m lengths. We also offer a barrier free cedar log border that is also sold in 1.2m lengths. Please note these items are not available outside of Canada.

Developmental Value

Sensory ProcessingSensory Processing: Tactile, Visual, Proprioceptive, Vestibular
MotorMotor: Core Strength, Balance, Coordination, Motor Planning
CognitiveCognitive: Problem-Solving, Focus, Attention
Social/Emotional