A natural playground for families
Outdoor adventure play is taking on a giant footprint this fall when Bernheim opens Playcosystem, a new 10-acre natural playground. Playcosystem is designed in harmony with nature to provide children with open-ended, physically challenging, and unstructured play opportunities that support healthy development.
Access to Playcosystem will begin across from the Visitor Center. Visitors will enter through the Nature Playground, a natural playground with constructed areas that will meet the developmental needs of young children. The Nature Playground will then stretch into the TreeCess with park-like pines, where children will be able to engage in more adventurous play. This space eventually leads to the Adventure Forest, where children will have free range to explore wilder play.
Playcosystem is a play laboratory intended to inspire more natural play environments throughout the region. We envision a changing landscape of play that is adaptable or adoptable by others. It’s the natural evolution of the more than 10-year effort Bernheim has invested into the many benefits of play outdoors through the Children at Play Network (CAPN). CAPN is an initiative that works at the community level to advocate for free play outdoors so that every child has a place in nature where they feel free, safe, healthy, empowered, and joyful.
Research indicates that natural playgrounds stimulate children’s imaginations, boost their energy levels, and increase the time they spend playing. At play in natural spaces, children engage more creatively, work cooperatively, build their problem-solving skills, and learn to navigate healthy risk. All are skills that last a lifetime.
Playgrounds are part of the foundation of healthy communities. We want Playcosystem to be a gathering spot for families to nurture connections between their children and their natural world to build the next generation of environmental stewards.