Limestone can be a stepping stone a bench a sculptural climbing element an

Limestone can be a stepping stone a bench a

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have many uses depending on the design intent. Limestone can be a stepping stone, a bench, a sculptural climbing element, an entrance marker or a pillar, depending on the intent. The ground (soil) can be manipulated to create a flat area, rolling hills, drainage channels or stream beds. These materials can be used with manmade materials such as concrete and asphalt to form the foundation for a playground. Vegetative: Manitoba’s Prairie, Boreal Forest, Aspen Parkland, Riparian Habitat and cultivated gardens are useful to bring children a sense of the cyclical patterns of the world. Plants, and the fauna they attract, are important components which contribute to education, quiet play and imagination in the playground. Planting can be used to help shape and soften the ‘foundation’ of a playground. For example, a simple caragana hedge can be planted to delineate the edge of a play area in the playground. As it grows, the hedge will form a living wall, providing nooks and crannies for little children to play house or hide while it reminds them of the season with bright yellow petalled flowers in the spring or crinkly twigs in the winter. Air is felt, smelled and heard on the playground in the forms of wind, temperature and humidity. These features can greatly impact the quality of children’s play. A playground in an open field, in the middle of winter, will be susceptible to high velocity winds and unpleasant snow deposition patterns. The creation of microclimates helps to ameliorate the negative affects of weather (air). Wind and weather can be used to create Innovative Play Structures Research Project August, 2001 Page 75
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spaces and sound in play space design. Chimes or wind sculptures can be placed strategically to make sound and show air flow. A quiet area for sitting and watching others play needs calm, soothing air. Playgrounds can be designed with air filters such as shade trees, canopies or shelter belts to mitigate weather conditions. Fire is a more difficult element to deal with. Fire does represent heat and light. Fire pits can be used with adult supervision and extreme care. The sun is the greatest source of heat on a playground. Playgrounds should be designed to moderate the sun’s impact and still benefit from its warmth and light. Concerns such as sunburn and heat stroke should be considered. Light can be celebrated by using shiny materials that refract and reflect it onto other surfaces or by cutting shapes out of or into other materials to cast shadows. Light can also be filtered through the leaves of trees for a dappled effect, or diffused into a colourful glow by panels of brightly coloured linen or plastic. Water can be liquid or solid. A life sustaining element, water is fascinating to children. It can be seen, touched, tasted, smelled and felt. In its liquid form, water can be used to do magical things. It can run, gurgle, be still, spray, mist, see or be frozen. Water, with all of its characteristics, can become an important play element in the playground. Drainage issues can be treated in a creative and explanatory way. There are safety
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