By utilising a hidden part of the garden with spectacular views and natural undulations we have been able to create The Children’s Garden at The American Museum in Bath, a magical space in which children can play, explore and discover the natural world. It is a space for families to spend quality time together with easy access, good seating, view points and bespoke timber play equipment that will engage children’s curiosity and challenge them physically.
The play towers are bespoke and can be accessed in different ways from nets and ladders. They are also linked to the top terrace by a walkway. The towers utilise the slope of the hillside to give a sense of being up high to give far reaching views. Being high gives children a sense of well being and comfort in a world where they are normally small.
They offer a high level of challenge which is essential for children’s growth and development. Risky play can help children learn their strengths and weaknesses and become more aware of their limitations so that they can learn to take care of themselves.
Challenge is a personal measure of ability and the sense achievement builds confidence and self worth. Repeat visits will be encouraged as children work their way up and the more difficult levels of challenge are accomplished.
Set high and looking out over the valley is the Eagle’s Nest. The Bald Eagle is the national bird of America and one of the characters in the Museum’s educational packs. Bald eagles build nests in trees with good visibility and close to a water source.
Climbing the steps to slide down a long embankment slide is great fun and a way to foster important social skills like cooperative play, sharing, taking turns, and learning patience and tolerance of others’ skills and physical abilities. When a child successfully positions and pushes themselves down the chute, they are building valuable balance and coordination skills. Additionally, it helps children develop spacial awareness, as they have to judge when it is a good time to slide and when to put their feet down once they reach the bottom of the chute.
Bonded rubber mulch is a safety surface created from recycled forklift truck tyres that are shredded to appear like wood bark chippings. These metal-free rubber shreds are then bonded together with a polyurethane resin.This blend is then installed to create a seamless playground floor with no loose particles. This surface is also permeable making it SUDS approved.
The scheme has been designed around the existing tree planting on site. In order to preserve the health of these existing trees no chemicals or machinery will be stored within the root zone area to prevent spillage into the ground and tree roots. Working in a historic landscape is specialist and requires knowledge and experience of working within slopes and trees. We understand that the project will need to be sensitive to the constraints of the site and that the timeline needs to be flexible and could change week on week.
The Museum will be able to use the new spaces to deliver educational workshops, host group visits, inspire families and entertain children in a wild environment.