Chesterton School, Cirencester

The aim of this project was to extend all weather play off the main tarmac area and provide open ended play with a focus on climbing and balancing.

Balance challenge

To create a natural look and feel large Oak logs and untreated Robinia poles were used to create a range of play items meeting the needs of a wide variety of age groups and abilities. Climbing and upper body strength is so important to refine strength, coordination skills and movement planning to engage both body and brain. This in turn leads to improved fine motor skills such as eye-hand coordination and writing/mark making.

Balancing play equipment
Within the space there are multiple routes providing opportunities for balancing and using upper body strength through climbing and hanging. Stepping logs, beams and ropes are used to link the space, with the large Oak trunks (which had any sharp edges sanded) creating a challenging and multi faceted climbing centrepiece. 
A woodchip safety surface is contained with turfed bunds to create two linked spaces, with the option to add more in the future and extend the play space. Balance beams and boulders provide playful routes in and out of the space, linking it to the playground and creating a playful circuit.
Oak scramble logs
Natural play
Depending on the nature of the children using the space, it can also become a quieter social area with many informal seating options for children to retreat from noise of the main playground. Along with being used as an outdoor classroom space for an alternative learning environment.