Playscape
The Oxford Park Playscape is the largest natural play area for Children in Estonia. Using almost exclusively natural materials, it covers a range of learning, educational, play and excercise. The size of the park is in total 1,5ha.

Benefits
The area is free to Oxford Park residents and a great day out for children who want to come back again and again. As parents you know that your children will be naturally tired and sleepy from all the exercise, giving you some space and time of your own when you get back home. So, for anyone living in Oxford Park it means happy, healthy children and an easier life for parents.

Previously, people thought it is better to move to the city, but with the latest sceintific research proving the benefits of a sustainable life, the modern society is learning that they are rather forced to move to the city against their will to find jobs and facilities (like a revival of the industrial revolution). Many people would rather have all the benefits of a natural environment if only they could afford it.

Playscape design
Our natural playground design draws on studies that show measurable benefits to children from outdoor play in this type of space: increased physical activity and confidence; reduced stress; improved safety; reduced sickness; and improved concentration in the classroom. The late twentieth century saw the steady movement of play and learning indoors and into artificial environments. Urbanization and the popularity of electronic toys and media continue to reduce children’s exposure to nature, culminating in what has come to be called Nature Deficit Disorder. The indoor or street-polluted city-life for children has been medically linked with other ilnesses such as more flu contagion, higher frequency of asthma, diabetes, excess lead leading to a reduction in brain function, overweight, reduced social skills, poor natural coordination, reduced sporting skills and so on.

A natural playground and life in a natural environment uses hills and paths where a manufactured one uses ladders and stairs. A natural playscape literally levels the playing field, enabling a wider range of children with different abilities – and of different ages – to play freely in a setting that offers continual challenge and stimulation with fewer contrived and inflexible obstacles.

Advantages of a playscape over a manufactured playground
Playscapes are natural play areas. A Playscape is a modern and research-proven global trend for helping to improve the development of children in the 21st Century. However, you need a very large outdoor area to make it work, which is why it is generally not made in towns or cities – unfortunately city-based children therefore miss out on this part of their natural and social development.

Playscapes are designed with the intent to bring children back to nature using: fallen logs, tree stumps for seating, vertical logs for forts etc… Playscapes and natural play areas offer a wide range of open ended play options for children while remaining safe. On the other hand, standard play structures or playgrounds are commonly associated with children’s area’s occupied by a forced play structure. This forced structured play offers very little in terms of imaginative, open-ended play. Play structures are a way of prescribing and standardizing play for children limiting their development.

Our natural Playscape is a sustainable, long-term investment: a natural playscape of hardy indigenous plants provides a self-sustaining ecosystem that will require less long-term care and cost than a traditionally landscaped space or a manufactured playground. It is a low-carbon-footprint alternative to a traditional playground design.

All the elements in the scape park are designed in a way that they would have:
– healing or therapeutic effect (for example labyrinths, bongos);
– calming or rising activness levels
– impact to increase physical form and health
– impact to increase mental health and balance
– impact to enhance imagination and creativity

The park is divided into 3 parts. In the west side of the park, there is a calm area for thinking, walking and including the therapeutic labyrinths. The center is meant for social gatherings: in the amphitheater you can create small plays and arrange outside classes. The Eastern part is the natural free time area for the kids to run around and enjoy themselves. This includes a founded play area with sand, hills, climbing and activities which follow the topography. There more than 20 different activities in Scape Park and children are encouraged to use the naturally available environment to create their own games.

The fully completed playscape will include:
– Secure area ringed with small hills
– Hill running
– Interesting educational trails (biological, flora, fauna)
– Outdoor amphitheatre
– Stone river
– Water and sand play area
– Climbing stones
– Jumping stones
– Natural music instruments – bongos
– Witch Hazel’s secret path
– Winter sledging
– Sand areas limited by natural lines
– 2 different size labyrinths
– Small wooden bridges
– Climbing trees
– Trees for art
– Climbing walls (different types)
– Balance logs
– Cars made of logs
– Play elements such as „dragonfly“, and „crocodile“,
– Pikning areas
– Running track with sticks

Click here to view the picture of the Playscape (it is a 4 MB file and might take longer time to download)
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