TM 5-803-11/AFJMAN 32-10139
vided in children's outdoor play areas. Mature
be used along paths to create a sequence of views,
shrubs make excellent private places and refuges
textures, smells, light, shade, and color.
for young children.
(4) Form, Texture, and Color. Plant material
d. Climbing. Some trees and shrubs provide ex-
with varied forms, textures, and colors should be
cellent support for climbing. Consider planting
selected to provide diversity in play areas. A variety
some trees or large shrubs that support climbing.
of leaf textures should be included: evergreen with
e. Construction. Children use branches to con-
deciduous; shiny with rough; serrated with smooth;
struct play materials. Trees and shrubs also provide
and thin with thick. In addition, plants should be
branches that can be used for suspending play
selected for seasonal change: evergreen vs. decidu-
items, such as flags and banners. For these activi-
ous; color through the seasons; early leaves; late
ties, species with low, spreading, horizontal
flowers; and flowers and fruit.
branches should be selected.
12-3. Plants in Play Activities.
f. Field Play. Turf should be used on sports play-
ing surfaces, and in unstructured recreation areas,
Plants and natural ground covers should be inte-
including surfaces of mounds and slopes. Small turf
grated into the design throughout the play area, but
areas may be provided for toddlers and for infant
the play value of plant material itself should also be
considered. Together with soil, sand, and water,
plant materials provide opportunities for manipula-
124. Selection Criteria.
tive play that are quite different from the static,
Plant selection should be coordinated with the
unchangeable character of fixed play equipment.
installation design guide or plant list.
Plants and ground covers provide opportunities for
exploring nature; playing with leaves, seeds, and
a. Design Function. Materials should be selected
branches; social interaction; climbing; constructive
that meet the intended design functions described
play; and field play.
in this chapter.
a. Exploring Nature. When designing with plant
b. Local Conditions. Plant material that requires
material, the natural plant communities and the
minimal maintenance and is suited to local condi-
animal habitat created should be considered. Natu-
tions, such as climatic extremes and soil types,
ral habitat conditions should be closely replicated to
should be selected. The civil or installation engineer
compliment the regional ecosystem.
or local horticulturist should be contacted for guid-
(1) Wildlife. Small animals are an environmen-
c. Native and Introduced Species. A mix of native
tal education resource for children. Native plant
and introduced plants should be selected. Native
communities should be included as wildlife habitats
plants provide hardy background planting and are
in children's outdoor play areas. Plants that bear
usually more resilient. Introduced species are
fruits, cones, and seeds should be provided. These
region-hardy plants that add variety and interest.
attract birds, squirrels, butterflies, and insect popu-
lations. Habitat areas should not be overly mani-
(1) Native Plants. Native species are adapted
cured to remove materials that animals depend
to the region, have local ecological and cultural sig-
upon for survival.
nificance, and offer children learning opportunities.
Native plants are hardier and less likely to incur
(2) Natural Areas. Woods and natural areas
disease or insect problems. Native plantings should
should be left in a rough state. However, thorny
be used to provide a foundation of plant material for
material, poisonous or rash-producing plants, and
play, exploration, and learning activities.
dead branches and twigs at eye or neck height
should be removed. Natural areas provide children
(2) Introduced Species. In children's outdoor
with opportunities to observe nature and partici-
play areas, a mix of species is often preferred. Intro-
pate in dramatic play.
duced species should be used selectively to increase
play area diversity, enhance sensory variety, and
b. Plant Parts. Plants provide a variety of play
increase the resiliency of the plant setting.
and learning materials that are virtually free of
cost, including leaves, flowers, fruit, nuts, seeds,
(3) Varied Plant Material. Native and intro-
and sticks. Plants should be selected for craft, culi-
duced species should be used to provide a variety of
nary, and dramatic play potential.
flowers, foliage, and colors, and varied forms.
c. Social Interaction. Natural environments cre-
ate comfortable places for social activity. Trees and
tions place considerable stress on plants; many
shrubs should be used to create a variety of gather-
plants cannot tolerate such conditions. Drought-
ing spaces that can be used by all ages. Spaces for
tolerant species should be selected for children's
large and small group gatherings should be pro-
outdoor play areas. These species conserve water.