Timber - An Undervalued Playground Material
Timber is a fantastic medium for playground equipment. Aside from the aesthetic and tactile advantages (see below), the timbers used by Andrew Smith Timber Creations are hard-wearing, long-lasting and resistant to fire and pests.
A common misconception is that timbers do not last as long as plastic and metal play equipment. All playground materials do eventually break down, and while plastic will split and metal will rust, creating laceration risks, timber will deteriorate softly and gradually, meaning the equipment is still safe to use while repairs are organised. With an annual check-up, timber play equipment is extremely long lasting.
Andrew Smith Timber Creations Pty Ltd use sustainably sourced and recycled Australian timbers.
Over time, we have been able to source more Red Ironbark and White Cypress to improve the quality and the longevity of our elements.
Benefits of Timber Elements
Timber Creations uses recycled timber for all our products, which has a very positive environmental effect. Recycling wood saves massive amounts of heat energy as well as reducing deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.
Apart from the fantastic environmental advantages of recycling discarded timber (of which there are many), timber products contribute to a wonderful sense of place and beautiful environmental surroundings. Timber elements provide visual continuity with the landscape gives a feeling of spaciousness and tranquillity. Natural materials result in no jarring of colour which creates feeling of peace.
Connection to Nature
Children have an inborn inclination and interest in the natural environment and its elements. It makes them feel comfortable and appeals to the senses as it is our biological home; we have an organic connection to nature that we often underestimate (Pelo, 2008).
It has been shown in multiple studies over the last decade that natural settings enhance cognitive abilities, in particular executive functioning. For children and young people it has been shown that exposure to natural elements leads to an increase in attention span and focus, creative thought processes, problem solving abilities, self-discipline and self-regulation as well as reduced stress levels and increased physical and emotional health (Driessnack, 2009).
Developing Naturalistic intelligence
One of the biggest problems of today is concerned with children perceiving themselves as separate from nature. Nature is the dirty, scary thing somewhere out there – no relation at all to their own lives of school, homework and TV.
Children need to be able to connect more with nature; studies say it is a necessity for general well-being. The first step towards this is the incorporation of natural elements into their everyday lives; a connection between the scary nature out there and the structural safety of the school playgrounds and parks that they are used to (Dore, 2010).
Dore, B. (2010, September 13). Nature helps children learn faster. Hindustan Times. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Driessnack, M. (2009), Children and Nature-Deficit Disorder. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 14: 73–75.
Pelo, A. (2008). Rethinking Early Childhood Education. Rethinking Schools, Ltd. Milwaukee, WI.