and health issues surrounding water and although there is a notion that water

And health issues surrounding water and although

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and health issues surrounding water, and although there is a notion that water on the playground can be dangerous, if used appropriately, it can be safe and transform a playground into a magical place. A dry stream bed, for example, can be visually beautiful and safe whether it is periodically full or empty of water. Water can be converted by natural or mechanical means, creating special activity nodes for children. Innovative Play Structures Research Project August, 2001 Page 76
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Snow and ice can be useful in the Manitoba playground situation. As discussed in the previous chapter, snow and ice need to be seen as positive parts of our winter playgrounds. The most amazing factor of snow in the playground is that it is one of the few materials children can sculpt and change themselves. The playground can be designed to trap snow in niches, blow snow clear under play structures or deposit snow on hills for tumbling on and sliding. Ice can be used as an important play element in the playground. Many Nordic countries have created ice falls by allowing water to run over a metal frame. As it freezes, into unique and ever changing shapes, it forms ice fences and ice sheets. Ice skating is an obvious and exciting use for ice. Melting spring water also reminds children about the changing of the seasons and the impact of the outdoor environment on their lives. In both its solid and liquid forms, water is a wonderful and useful element in play environments. It would be very beneficial to future Manitoba playground development if every revitalization or new design began by stopping to consider how the base elements – earth, air, fire and water – can be used and enjoyed by children in their play environments. Manmade Materials There is a wide range of manmade or synthetic materials that can add a functional, colourful and unique dimension to children’s play environments. Concrete, asphalt, metal, glass, plastic, vinyl, rubber, canvas, wood and fabric can be used, not only in the basic layout and connections of a playground, but also, in most of the exciting play components that make each playground special and unique. This section explores recently developed manmade products that can be used in playground construction. Innovative Play Structures Research Project August, 2001 Page 77
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Resilient Rubber Surfacing Rubber surfacing is made from rubber with new or recycled tire materials. It provides a safe, resilient, impact absorbing playing surface for children. Due to its viscous application qualities, soft rubber surfacing can be applied in any shape conceivable, making it a great tool for introducing cultural and educational elements such as animals, words, numbers and other shapes onto the playground. Many playgrounds in the United States, Europe and Asia use rubber surfacing for wayfinding and play because it is available in almost any colour. Resilient rubber surfacing is a material that should be considered for use in Manitoba’s playgrounds.
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