1330 Alpine Ave
Boulder, CO


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    Natural Playscape 

There is a new movement in the domain of outdoor playgrounds that asks us to recall what it was like to explore and discover nature outside on our own when we were children.  Today, children are never left outside on their own and often the only experience that they have with "nature" is in their school playground or neighborhood parks which are sadly lacking in natural elements.  Children climb on metal and plastic and walk on rubber composite surfacing.  But kids need more than just fresh air and exercise when they go outside.  In a natural playscape, man-made elements are used as little as possible and children are instead given the opportunity to play on and discover natural elements – weaving through tall grasses, climbing up large stones, balancing on logs, or searching for strawberries in the garden.


In August of 2010, The Elm Tree teachers sat in the backyard and together we dreamed up a plan for our natural playscape.  We imagined how a child feels in that space, what they experience and how they could interact with nature as much as possible. 

We divided the plan up into a series of projects and are nearing completion of the entire project.  Over the past year and a half we have slowly begun to build a beautiful, dream-like, natural environment for children to play in every day and this has been possible only with the help of our greater community!  Volunteer musicians, artists, construction workers, parents, teachers, friends, all have made this a possibility and we cannot express enough how grateful we are to ALL of you!


Please contact us if you are interested in joining with us to make this dream a reality.  We always need carpenters, construction helpers, neighbors, artists, willing helpers, students of nature and inspired volunteers.  Thanks in advance for all the help and inspiration!

With love and joy,

        The Elm Tree Crew



 Playscape projects:

1.   Outdoor Art Area
Completed October 2010





2.   Garden Expansion & Greenhouse

Completed June 2011 






3.   Water Play Area and Sensory Garden
50% Completed as of September 2011

Water Play Area
Sound & Sensory Garden
1.    Sound structures / Musical Instruments - remaining
2.   Herb/sensory garden - remaining
3.   Mosaic Mural along fence - completed





4.  Hill Slide and Dry Creek Bed
Completed - July 2012