From a very young age, children feel the impulse to climb. Like many other animals, from our chimpanzee ancestors to the sloth, it’s pure instinct. Children love to explore, climbing chairs and sofas to get a different view of the world around them. Climbing aids development in a few different ways. Firstly, physical strength and muscle development. Secondly, a creative and mental aspect – exploration helping us to understand our surroundings. There’s also the coordination and balance they develop. That’s why when we’re taking on playground design projects in and around High Wycombe, we’ll often recommend the classic school playground equipment which facilitates this activity – climbing frames!
The DNA Play team specialises in the design and build of natural playgrounds which are fun for children of all personality-types and physical capabilities. We use sustainable materials, ensuring that the finished playground design is one with a low footprint that will last a long, long time.
A Chicago-based lawyer named Sebastian Hinton first patented climbing frames in 1920. His aim was to create a structure that would help children work on physical mobility, spatial skills and problem solving. This made them ideal for use as school playground equipment. To begin with, they took a lot of influence from nature and how monkeys play in the trees. We still refer to many bits of equipment in High Wycombe playgrounds as monkey bars! But as the art of playground design evolved, so did climbing frames. They became more visually striking and inventive in how they could be used.
Both synthetic and natural playgrounds stated to incorporate school playground equipment that blurred the lines between climbing frames and similar constructions, incorporating climbing walls, slides, nets, obstacles etc. And with advances in surfacing which reduced the chances of a child falling and suffering an injury, the proportion of smiles to tears kept on improving!
We’re always keeping our fingers on the pulse when it comes to the innovation of school playground equipment, not least climbing frames. From swinging steps and chain walks to balance beams and incredible adventure frames, we want to be able to incorporate exciting ideas within our own playground design projects around High Wycombe.
Then there’s a slightly different type of school playground equipment which looks to combine physical play with creative play. The “Playframe” variety usually includes ladders or wooden bars and climbing nets to pose the challenge: “how high can you get?” While traditional climbing frames with metal bars positioned in a square or rectangular shape have very limited possibilities, these really spark the imagination of school children throughout High Wycombe.
Gone are the days of stainless steel monstrosities that stick out like sore thumbs. Gone are the days of intimidating falls and borderline inaccessible sections which only the tallest and strongest children can make use of. Nowadays, with the natural playgrounds we design and build around High Wycombe, it’s all about integrating school playground equipment with the world around us, through expert landscaping and constant communication with stakeholders – including the children themselves.