Product Description

The environment is one of the two most important influences upon a person. We become the
people we are, primarily through the influences of:

1. Our biological/chemical (or genetic) make-up.
2. Our surroundings or ENVIRONMENT.

This book is about relationships between PLAY and the ENVIRONMENT.


1. Where Do They Play
2. Planning for Play
3. Types of Playgrounds
4. Designing a Playground
5. Further Design Considerations
6. Environmental Play

7. How To Grow Plants Successfully
8. Trees and Shrubs for Playgrounds
9. Turf
10. How To Grow Your Own Produce
11. Using What You Grow

12. Landscaping a School Ground
13. Backyards & Gardens for Children
14. Adventure Playgrounds
15. Children’s Farms
16. Community Gardens
17. The Design of Environmental Trails
18. Park Interpretation
19. Environmental Activities
20. Fun and Fitness Trails
21. Skateboard Facilities
22. Outdoor Multi-Purpose Courts
23. Bicycle Facilities
24. Motorised Vehicle Parks
25. Facilities for People with Disabilities

26. Case Studies

A. Play Structures-Design Considerations
B. Ropes
C. A Guide to Mound Making
D. Gradients and Dimensions for Sporting Facilities
E. Community Participation
F. Contacts
G. Bibliography


This refers to how people perceive the playground in its appearance. Does it look neat, colourful, obscure, gaudy, natural, attractive or repulsive?
It is important to realise that different people have different aesthetic perceptions. Children often disagree with adults in their aesthetic preferences. Children tend to be attracted to a messy appearance and to bright colours whereas adults are very often repulsed by these same things. This leads to a conflict. The children are the ones using the playground so it can be argued that the playground should reflect their aesthetic preferences. On the other hand, the playground often borders on the adult world and there is no escaping the imposition of the aesthetics to the outside. The adults must have some rights too. Often adults use their power over children too much, and over-impose their aesthetic standards on the children.

Aesthetic considerations might include:
+ Unity – this is achieved by grouping or arranging in such a way that individual components have a sense of oneness.
+ Balance – this refers to symmetrical or asymmetrical balance.
+ Proportion – this refers to sizing or scaling of components in relation to each other and to the total landscape.
+ Harmony – this refers to the way all of the parts of the design fit together.
+ Contrast – this is the opposite of harmony and should not be overdone. Occasional contrast adds interest and creates a more alive atmosphere.

Achieving appropriate aesthetic effects will create an atmosphere which will encourage certain types of activity and discourage others. In this way, aesthetics has a definite relationship with function.

Social Acceptance
There can often be conflict between what is socially acceptable and what is functional. It might be functional for children to build cubby houses in a playground, but not socially accepted in that community. It might be functional to pay for a playground development by billboard advertising, but it might not be socially accepted.

Financial Criteria
Everything which is planned for in a playground development must fall within certain financial limits. You cannot build what you do not have the money to pay for. Consider both the initial and ongoing costs:
1) Initial Costs – cost of design and construction.
2) Ongoing Costs – cost of maintenance and perhaps employment of play leaders (or supervisors, etc).
These criteria (and others) should be considered relative to the components or elements of the design. The resulting arrangement becomes your playground design.

Creating Effects
+ Close mowing tends to make an area seem larger.
+ A smooth boundary will make an area seem larger.
+ Shadows or openings at one side of an area will make it seem wider.
+ Looking downhill makes a distance seem longer.
+ Looking uphill makes a distance seem shorter.
+ Too much repetition and harmony is monotonous.
+ Too much contrast is chaotic.
+ Spaces which are too small can be oppressive.
+ Large spaces are empty and hollow unless there are a large number of people in those spaces.
+ Long spaces (in large scale public landscapes) can be overdone, becoming psychologically exhausting.
+ To achieve a harmony in space in enclosed areas – the ratio of building height to space width should be no more than 1 :4.
+ Introduced landforms i.e. reshaping of land, should blend in with existing topography.
+ Coarse textures decrease the apparent size of spaces.
+ Fine textures will make small spaces look bigger.
+ Flowing curved lines are passive, soft and pleasant.
+ Geometric lines and shapes are solid, strong and formal.
+ Sharp, straight, irregular lines create an active, vigorous feeling in a garden.
+ A garden can be made to appear larger by making trees and other features from adjoining properties appear to be part of the garden itself.

How do children think? Children are on a constant path of development from conception to adulthood (and beyond). Understanding children from a psychological perspective can be of great assistance to adults, in order to help them support the children in their lives to develop into highly functioning adults – whether their own children, or in a professional or social environment.

This book attempts to provide the skills and knowledge to develop a greater understanding of children, and what is really going on for them. The first chapter discusses developmental stages in a child’s life, which is important for understanding what is to be expected and accepted at different points of a child’s development.

The next few chapters initiate the age-old discussion on the effects of nature and nurture on development. Chapter four provides insights into the importance of creating balance in a child’s life and chapter five discusses ways to change undesirable behaviour, providing practical solutions. Chapter six takes this a step further, going into problems and solutions of behaviour modification, as well as discussing issues such as abuse, bullying and deprivation.

The book concludes with a discussion on keeping up to date with constantly evolving research.

This book will provide valuable clues into the way children think, and useful keys to support development. We hope you enjoy it.

If you would like to do a course in counselling or psychology please see our Psychology and Counselling courses at