WHAT ARE OUR CHILDREN’S PLAYGROUNDS LIKE?.
As an Association for the protection of nature and the environment and the promotion of sustainable development, which directs a large part of its programs, projects, and activities toward the target group of children, specific non-institutional education for the environment and sustainable development, we would like to highlight the importance of using natural materials when designing children’s outdoor play spaces.
We want to draw the general public’s attention to the benefits of using natural materials such as wood, sand, earth, water, and others and to warn about those currently found in our children’s playgrounds.
We noticed that rubber anti-stress surfaces are most often used on playgrounds, and more recently artificial (plastic) grass. Artificial grass is made from tiny, black crumbs obtained from shredded car tires, sprinkled between fake blades of grass. What makes this surface attractive and a success story is its protection against serious injury to children, and an added plus for the playground maintainer is that it does not require any fertilizer, pesticides, or watering.
However, various studies, which are available with a simple internet search, warn of the fact that artificial rubber surfaces can pose a health hazard to children/users.
Also, considering our climate and the number of hours of sunshine, playgrounds exposed to direct sunlight (without shade) and lined with an anti-stress surface can hardly be used in the summer months because such a surface heats up – 10 to 15 degrees higher than the ambient temperature.
Therefore, we recommend the use of more environmentally friendly surfaces that bring some additional benefits for children;
wood-based materials – i.e. mulch
river gravel (pebbles for children’s playgrounds)
along with shades for playgrounds.
We hope that these examples will serve as an inspiration and encourage change! 🙂