Nature Play - Explore our nature play equipment
Our Nature Play category is dominated by one word, one hardwood, Robinia. We use other wood species e.g. pine where appropriate, but the arrival of a new shipment of Robinia at our Brno factory is a moment of excitement. That’s because Robinia is a joy to work with. Its strength is held in its grain and we let the grain dictate how we use each piece of timber. In turn, it rewards us all by making every Robinia structure and feature individual, every Castle telling a different tale, every Play System a unique challenge.
Totally sustainable, the European Robinia is more than just a component material, with its strength, durability and potential it is at the centre of our Nature Play range in the Villages, Ships and Playhuts and Playhouses. It turns from Play Systems, Obstacle Courses and Themed Play. Robinia Springs are beefed up versions of the springer family.
Explore our nature play categories
Creating play areas with nature-inspired playgrounds
Nothing encourages children’s natural play more so than being outside with their friends. Connecting with nature awakens children’s instinct to play and explore. There are many benefits of a natural playground, our nature-inspired playgrounds give children a play environment with room to do what children do best – play and explore. We set loving frames with natural play structures to guide them in their play, and in between there is room for imagination and play in the beautiful open air. Nature-inspired playgrounds are also a way to bring greenery and forests into urban environments. A nature inspired playground will even help you transform the saddest of concrete jungles into a vibrant, inviting playground that will spread the freshness of nature throughout the entire community.
KOMPAN is a playground company which have been in the field of natural playground play for more than 50 years. Creating natural playgrounds that invite children to connect with their outdoor surrounds is at the heart of our DNA. We use nature’s best and most durable material to bring the best of play to all children in natural playscapes.
Looking to the future of nature-based playgrounds
Important features of playgrounds that inspire nature play are the use of materials that work with the environment, rather than against it. This may mean using natural construction materials such as Robinia wood, but it can also mean using materials such as rope, metal, or HDPE, in a manner that creates a transparent look, allowing children and their families to view and interact with nature while they are at play. The natural playscape will be an attractor to children and families, and with good design, it will support longer and more active playtimes outside. Get inspiration to your next playground by our natural playground ideas!
Combining inclusive play in a nature play environment
Inclusion is also an important consideration in designing a natural playground. With inclusive design, the principle that persons of all abilities will have structures and spaces to play actively on the playground together. The first step in designing for inclusion in nature play is to ensure accessibility to play choices, such as swinging, sliding, gliding, bouncing, balancing, spinning, rocking, and climbing, as well as access to all of the playful natural elements in the play space such as plants, trees, water, dirt, sand and stones. But designing for inclusion goes beyond access to ensure that the play elements and the natural features are designed so they are appealing and thrilling for persons of all abilities to play together.
What is an inclusive natural playground?
An inclusive natural playground is an environment that incorporates nature into a space with opportunities for children for all abilities to move their bodies in a variety of playful ways. In play design, variety of movement and graduated challenges are the key to sustaining play for all. Along with a variety of non-toxic plants, shrubs, trees, and touchable natural materials in the play space, there should be a variety of structures to support movements for persons of varying abilities. An inclusive natural playground is a place where children play together, with peers of all abilities and across generations.
Why are inclusive natural playgrounds important?
Inclusive natural playgrounds attract children and their families to the outdoors. With careful design, these playgrounds keep them playing for extended periods of high activity, and in turn, support child development. These playgrounds are important for several reasons:
they help children to get acquainted with the local ecosystem
they help children to appreciate and care for the natural world
they help to reduce stress
they help to focus attention
they support active body movements in ways that cannot happen indoors
Why is nature play important for child development?
Experiences in nature and naturalized environments have benefits for health, well-being, and cognitive functioning (Bratman et al, 2012). For children, developing a connection with nature also supports their desire to participate in conservation efforts (Cheng & Monroe, 2012; Hughes et al, 2018; Wells & Lekies, 2006; Zylstra et al, 2014). A connection with nature requires direct and repeated experiences in naturalized environments. With their emphasis on enjoyment, activity, and socialization, playgrounds designed around nature make for the perfect places to support connections with Mother Earth.
Learn more about preschool playground equipment that can help young children develop.
As part of our environmental footprint, we introduce Robinia to a complimentary range of long-established favourites, like swings and climbing frames and it is perfect for sand and water play. We also use its strength and ‘friendliness’ to make obstacle courses challenging, not intimidating.
Your walk with nature play starts here.
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Frequently asked questions
What is Robinia?
Robinia is the tree that gives everything. From replenishing the soil with nitrogen, to burning like coal, to providing the source for an exceptional honey, to being one of the most dense and versatile timbers. It is also a sustainable source. A native of eastern USA, where it is called black locust, it was introduced to Europe by the king of France’s gardener in 1602. That tree still stands in Square Viviani in central Paris. The tree can now be found growing around the world. In Europe it is most prolific in Germany, Romania and the Czech Republic. It is the wood of choice for KOMPAN because it brings strength, durability and individuality to each design.
Which lasts longer, man-made or natural materials?
The answer in KOMPAN terms is neither – with proper care they both should last a playing ‘lifetime’. Robinia wood has a 15-year warranty. If there is one difference the man-made Ecocore™ has a lifetime guarantee, it looks as good on day one as day 10,000, wood on the other hand matures and can often seem more welcoming with age.
What kind of after care is needed for Robinia?
A caring eye is foremost. Being part of nature at KOMPAN we let nature take its course. Most often this adds ‘character’ – the grain and knotting of wood are part of the attraction - but where the natural development might threaten structural safety, the warranty comes into effect.