Wednesday, March 20, 2019

HortPark makes play more natural for kids

Source Website: https://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/hortpark-makes-play-more-natural-kids
By Joy Pang, The New Paper, 20 March 2019 at 06:00 am


It's fun with dirt beneath their feet: Pre-schoolers from PCF Sparkletots enjoyed a fun day in the sun yesterday at Log Valley, one of the nine different play areas in the National Parks Board's (NParks) new Nature Playgarden at HortPark in Alexandra.
PHOTO: It's fun with dirt beneath their feet: Pre-schoolers from PCF Sparkletots enjoyed a fun day in the sun yesterday at Log Valley, one of the nine different play areas in the National Parks Board's (NParks) new Nature Playgarden at HortPark in Alexandra. Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, joined the children in exploring the different play features. Unveiled yesterday, the Playgarden incorporates more natural elements to encourage self-exploratory play, and will serve as a test-bed to develop guidelines for NParks' Biophilic Playgarden Plan, which aims to transform future playgrounds by integrating them with more natural elements such as trees, dirt and sand.
ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Picture posted by Joy Pang Minle, The Straits Times on Wednesday, 20 March 2019 at 06:00 AM

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-S3tuI67YvtE/XJIunTiC_AI/AAAAAAAAtQs/6dFBe5FA2bcCraIl8pDL3da7EzdXtvhhwCLcBGAs/s1600/ST_20190320_VNKIDS_4704079.jpg
https://www.straitstimes.com/sites/default/files/articles/2019/03/20/ST_20190320_VNKIDS_4704079.jpg
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/planting-the-seeds-for-new-kids-playground-design



Wood chips and dry leaves cover the floor of the new Nature Playgarden unveiled by the National Parks Board (NParks) at HortPark, as part of an effort to bring children closer to nature.

Yesterday, Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee joined around 50 pre-schoolers from NTUC My First Skool and PCF Sparkletots pre-schools to explore the park's nine play features.

The children climbed over logs at Big Fig Adventure and Log Valley, made music by running through hanging bamboo poles at The Singing Seeds, and built unique structures in a sand pit around The Building Huts.



Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee (in blue) joining around 50 pre-schoolers at a tree planting ceremony during the opening of the Nature Playgarden at HortPark yesterday.
PHOTO: Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee (in blue) joining around 50 pre-schoolers at a tree planting ceremony during the opening of the Nature Playgarden at HortPark yesterday.
The new park, which has nine different play features, is part of an effort by the National Parks Board to bring children closer to nature.
ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Picture posted by Joy Pang Minle, The Straits Times on Wednesday, 20 March 2019 at 06:00 AM

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-m4FMU-_7hdA/XJIum5B0pkI/AAAAAAAAtQo/Ax8m8uWqWxYwOvGUcsRH1PtEI6q4oz-MQCLcBGAs/s1600/ST_20190320_NATURE20_4704999.jpg
https://www.straitstimes.com/sites/default/files/styles/article_pictrure_780x520_/public/articles/2019/03/20/ST_20190320_NATURE20_4704999.jpg?itok=oIw9RJhL&timestamp=1553016610
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/planting-the-seeds-for-new-kids-playground-design



"I like to dig in the sand pit," said Alistair Lee, six. "I also saw a big green dragonfly there for the first time."

The children were not just having fun, they were also helping NParks conduct research. The Nature Playgarden is a test bed for NParks' Biophilic Playgarden Plan, which aims to transform future playgrounds by integrating them with more natural elements such as trees and sand.

Biophilia refers to the innate emotional connection humans have with nature, and NParks said the plan was conceived with pre-schoolers in mind, to encourage children to spend more time outdoors to enhance their overall well-being, increase their self-confidence and creative expression and let them connect with nature.



NParks opens nature playground at HortPark as testbed for future ‘biophilic’ sites
PHOTO: NParks opens nature playground at HortPark as testbed for future ‘biophilic’ sites
The 0.35-ha playgarden at HortPark has nine different play features. Children may traverse a series of logs laid across a trench, hide in a bamboo dome, or work together to build “castles” using materials such as wooden planks and poles.
Picture posted by Sherlyn Seah on Tuesday, 19 March 2019 - Pre-school children play at the new biophilic playground at HortPark on March 19, 2019.

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https://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/new_app_article_detail/public/photos/43_images/ssplay0319.jpg?itok=buihs1FR
https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/nparks-opens-nature-playground-hortpark-testbed-future-biophilic-sites



"We want to see if the children behave according to what the design sets out to accomplish," said Mr Tan Jun Chao, director of park planning for NParks.

He said the research will help improve the design guidelines for recreating more biophilic playgardens.

The Nature Playgarden's design capitalises on natural terrain and about 99 per cent of the 0.35 ha area is made out of recycled material, cutting down on construction costs.



Minister Desmond Lee and Mr Tan Jun Chao, director of park planning for NParks, with pre-schoolers interacting with the playgarden’s features.
PHOTO: Minister Desmond Lee and Mr Tan Jun Chao, director of park planning for NParks, with pre-schoolers interacting with the playgarden’s features.
Picture posted by Ashley Tan, mothership on 20 March 2019 at 01:01 AM

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https://mothership.sg/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/IMG_5688.jpg
https://mothership.sg/2019/03/playgarden-hort-park-children-nature/



The design principles were inspired by similar parks such as the Cincinnati Nature Centre in the US.

NParks will consult the Early Childhood Development Agency and National Institute of Early Childhood Development for more design options.

Mr Lee, Social and Family Development Minister, is confident the plan will help strengthen young minds and develop their affinity for the environment. "I hope that our young children become the stewards of our Garden City for many years to come," he said.



The Nature Playgarden, however, is a stark contrast — it is completely surrounded by greenery, tucked away in the middle of HortPark.
PHOTO: The Nature Playgarden, however, is a stark contrast — it is completely surrounded by greenery, tucked away in the middle of HortPark.
The entire area spans 0.35 ha, roughly half the size of a football field.
Picture posted by Ashley Tan, mothership on 20 March 2019 at 01:01 AM

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https://mothership.sg/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/IMG_5630.jpg
https://mothership.sg/2019/03/playgarden-hort-park-children-nature/

 

The place is large and open with plenty of space for children to explore and run amok.
PHOTO: The place is large and open with plenty of space for children to explore and run amok. Wood chips and dry leaves cover the floor of the new Nature Playgarden unveiled by the National Parks Board (NParks) at HortPark, as part of an effort to bring children closer to nature.
Picture posted by Ashley Tan, mothership on 20 March 2019 at 01:01 AM

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_fGX3_AAxYA/XJIul1SNWRI/AAAAAAAAtQc/ljIrzamvRU4vb0oyTbaELMSHxpM3MZ-pgCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_5681.jpg
https://mothership.sg/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/IMG_5681.jpg
https://mothership.sg/2019/03/playgarden-hort-park-children-nature/

 

Nature-inspired features made from upcycled materials
PHOTO: Nature-inspired features made from upcycled materials
Unlike the plastic slides and metal bars children may be familiar with in other playgrounds, almost all of the nine play features found in the playgarden are made from reused or recycled natural materials.
Examples include timber, bamboo, sand and rope. Here is a photos of the features - a small water fountain made out of logs:
Picture posted by Ashley Tan, mothership on 20 March 2019 at 01:01 AM

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-aEgQdWZ-H08/XJIukItSeKI/AAAAAAAAtQM/Khx0rBSbT-sOKRmfVYhntmXvwSmlJzy0QCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_5659.jpg
https://mothership.sg/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/IMG_5659.jpg
https://mothership.sg/2019/03/playgarden-hort-park-children-nature/

 

And a walkway with planks naturally inlaid into the soil.
PHOTO: And a walkway with planks naturally inlaid into the soil.
Picture posted by Ashley Tan, mothership on 20 March 2019 at 01:01 AM

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https://mothership.sg/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/IMG_5663.jpg
https://mothership.sg/2019/03/playgarden-hort-park-children-nature/

 

 Improving children’s learning skills
PHOTO: Improving children’s learning skills
Not only does the playgarden help to inculcate a love for nature, NParks said the numerous interactive play features are designed to improve children’s cognitive skills and sensory stimulation.
The sticks on the wooden teepee huts are removable, allowing children to express their creativity through modifying the “walls” of the hut. The usual, more sterile landscape of urban playgrounds is absent here.
Picture posted by Ashley Tan, mothership on 20 March 2019 at 01:01 AM

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https://mothership.sg/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/IMG_5677.jpg
https://mothership.sg/2019/03/playgarden-hort-park-children-nature/



Children can also stimulate their senses by playing with the 'musical instruments' in the playgarden.
PHOTO: Children can also stimulate their senses by playing with the “musical instruments” in the playgarden. Bamboo poles are strung up to resemble the traditional angklung instruments, and children can run beneath to produce hollow chimes.
Picture posted by Ashley Tan, mothership on 20 March 2019 at 01:01 AM

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-aEIfVCr5VIo/XJIulVKtajI/AAAAAAAAtQY/_jpFOd4zQ-8tz_c3-9wwtnRtHniLS7ukwCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_5680.jpg
https://mothership.sg/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/IMG_5680.jpg
https://mothership.sg/2019/03/playgarden-hort-park-children-nature/

 
The Nature Playgarden's design capitalises on natural terrain and about 99 per cent of the 0.35 ha area is made out of recycled material, cutting down on construction costs.
PHOTO: The Nature Playgarden's design capitalises on natural terrain and about 99 per cent of the 0.35 ha area is made out of recycled material, cutting down on construction costs.
HortPark is popular with gardening enthusiasts, families, and community groups who yearn for a tranquil environment in which to relax, and is frequently visited by visitors who enjoy taking nature walks along the Southern Ridges.

Beyond the HortPark playgarden, NParks said that it will implement several other nature-centric playgardens islandwide over the next two years.
The play area at Sengkang Riverside Park will be redeveloped using similar design principles, and there will be new playgardens at Pasir Ris Park and the upcoming Gallop extension of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Picture posted by Jamie@NParks, National Parks Board on 20 March 2019

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https://www.nparks.gov.sg/-/media/nparks-real-content/gardens-parks-and-nature/parks-and-nature-reserve/hortpark/gallery-image-update-jan-2017/3p-garden_gallery.jpg
https://www.nparks.gov.sg/gardens-parks-and-nature/parks-and-nature-reserves/hortpark

By Joy Pang, The New Paper, 20 March 2019 at 06:00 am
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Reference
[1] Joy Pang, The New Paper, HortPark makes play more natural for kids, posted on 20 March 2019 at 06:00 am, https://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/hortpark-makes-play-more-natural-kids

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