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Which Is Better: Man-Made or Natural?

Friday, May 31st, 2013 12:47 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Recently, I took some photos of B and M sliding, dangling, climbing and swinging on the playground and in the forest. How is a child’s consciousness shaped by playing on man-made swings and slides VERSUS dangling on living trees and sliding down dirt slopes in a forest? 

I can’t put my finger on it, but it really does feel very different, doesn’t it? For one, nature is continuously changing. The slopes gets muddy after a rainstorm. The tree branches will bend and give when you climb on it. For me, having that connection to earth, trees and nature expands our consciousness in a way that metal and plastic play structures don’t do. What differences do you see?

Sliding down a slide vs. sliding down a particularly steep slope in the forest

Dangling on monkey bars vs. a dangling on a tree

Climbing on a metal play structure vs. climbing a tree

Swinging at the park vs. bobbing up and down on limber tree branches

Reader Comments

  1. natural for sure. manmade would probably end up being mindless in the sense that it’s so repetitive and certainly will not engage the child in higher order thinking … no problem solving; no ‘testing’ of what does and doesn’t work; less of a sense of accomplishment. natural builds confidence in physical capabilities; the joy of getting dirty and better at or beating something… yeah, more mess for mum, but the deposit sits and builds up a nice little bank of experience to be ‘cashed in’ down the track by having children who have genuinely road-tested their environment. i could go on….

    Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 4:15 am | carol orourke

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