Bringing Nature to Your School and Park

Learning is no longer confined to the classroom; outdoor classroom spaces provide the opportunity to advance a child’s education. Natural play areas at parks give your community a beautiful and natural place to appreciate the outdoors. SafetyFirst makes creating these natural spaces an easy process while engaging your school and community along the way. It is an opportunity to create a personalized outdoor space for students and children to gather, play, and learn.

One-of-a-Kind Natural Play Company

With decades of experience in forest products, we understand everything there is to know about procuring trees and other natural materials for unique purposes. And with over a decade of experience in the playground industry, we know the ins and outs of secure play structures. Together, we use our extensive experience to create safe and commercial natural play areas. As more schools and parks want natural learning areas, we are here to fill the gap as a qualified natural play company.

Benefits of Our Nature Play and Outdoor Classrooms Services

Turnkey Nature Play Builders

No matter the size or complexity of your natural play area, we can complete the project in-house from start to finish. We coordinate the architecture designs, source the material, install all the parts, including the drainage system, surfacing, and equipment, and everything in between.

Use All-Natural, Locally-Sourced Materials

When planning your natural play area, we source material locally grown to your location. We serve schools and parks in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa, and procure material specific to the Midwest.

Reuse Trees Removed Directly From the Site

When clearing the outdoor classroom or playground site, we save the removed trees and reuse them to create the different wood playground equipment. We value sustainability and retaining community significance.

Involve and Collaborate with Schools and Parks

SafetyFirst offers the opportunity for volunteers and community members to assist with the project. As an important project for schools and communities, we want to involve those who will continue to use the outdoor classroom space or playground.

Natural EWF Surfacing

We provide 100% locally engineered wood fiber (EWF) surfacing for nature play areas. Nature’sPlus EWF is our unique surfacing that reimagines traditional wood chips to provide natural playground surfacing.

Fourth-Generation in the Minnesota Forest Industry

We hold a personal connection to Midwest trees and strive to share their beauty with the younger generation. At SafetyFirst, we enjoy developing creative outdoor learning spaces that allow students and children to experience nature.

An Environmentally Friendly Option

We love trees just as much as children. We take great pride in providing sustainable options for parks and schools, and nature play is the ultimate example.

Outdoor Classrooms for Schools and Natural Play Areas for Parks

An outdoor classroom is used at schools to provide a natural learning environment for students. It is designed to be a place to appreciate the outdoors while conducting a class. An outdoor classroom typically features wooden benches, creative concrete surfacing, and accent areas, such as wooden pillars, large boulders, or painted features.

A natural play area resembles a playground with natural material transformed into play structures. Natural play areas are ideal for parks and municipalities. Some structures at outdoor wooden playgrounds include tunnels, mazes, climbers, and other unique events.

Our Nature Play and Outdoor Classroom Process

1. Understand your goals, timeline, and budget

For parks interested in a nature play area or schools wanting a natural learning environment, we start by understanding what you want to accomplish and learn the initial details.

2. Develop natural play plans and renderings

To build these unique playgrounds, we partner with our trusted architect experienced in outdoor classroom architecture. As with standard playgrounds, nature play areas require structural engineering to ensure the playground meets regulations and is safe for the children.

3. Locally source all the natural materials

Using the outdoor classroom architecture plans, SafetyFirst procures all materials in-house. We locally source all materials, including trees, boulders, and other building materials, based on your location or directly from the site – a unique service we offer. Lead time can take about 1 year.

4. Install the natural play or outdoor classroom spaces

Installing the outdoor classroom is a labor-intensive process because it requires onsite adjustments. While we cut and shape the materials beforehand based on the architecture designs, it’s a complex installation process that requires modifying the logs and materials during the build. Installation takes around 3 weeks.

5. Start your annual maintenance plans

Once your natural play area is complete, we’ll start an annual playground maintenance plan to keep the natural equipment in good shape. Ongoing maintenance ensures your nature play area or outdoor classroom will last longer while maintaining safety standards.

Our Outdoor Classroom and Playground Services

Using a variety of events and structures, we create unique natural learning environments and natural play areas for schools and parks. Some of the services we offer include:

  • Mazes, tunnels, climbers, and other play areas
  • Benches or seating structures
  • ADA accessible pathways and events
  • Painting to match school or community colors
  • Custom concrete work
  • Natural engineered wood fiber installation

Nature Play & Outdoor Classrooms FAQs

How much does an outdoor classroom cost?

Cost greatly depends on the size and complexity of your outdoor classroom. We stay within the budget discussed during our planning call when creating your outdoor classroom architecture designs.

How to build an outdoor classroom or nature play area?

Building a commercial outdoor classroom is a complex process that requires certified professionals. The outdoor wood playground must be structurally sound in order to provide a safe natural play area for public use. To build your outdoor classroom, reach out to our natural play company to get started.

How long does it take to build a nature play area?

Since we are locally sourcing all materials, the lead time can take about 1 year. All the materials we harvest or select will ensure the highest quality and safest option for your nature play build. After the outdoor wood playground material is gathered, next is the installation process. Since this is a labor-intensive process, it takes around 3 weeks.

Make Your School or Park Standout With a Nature Play Area or Classroom

I have been using SafetyFirst surfacing material in my district’s playgrounds for several years now. We have been very impressed with the quality and impact attenuation of this product. I would highly recommend it for any organization looking for a quality, long lasting product for their playground surfacing needs.

Facilities and Safety Coordinator
Eden Prairie Schools, ISD 272

In my nearly 30 years of facility management, SafetyFirst is the finest playground service company I have worked with, Bob Clarin, president of SafetyFirst was always available and was on site daily. From the simplest repair, a missing bolt to a complete rebuild including drainage and play structure relocation, SafetyFirst completed the work well and on time.

Supervisor of Buildings & Grounds
Roseville Schools, ISD 623

I would like to express my satisfaction with the wood chips and mats that we have purchased from SafetyFirst. The chips bind together well to make a nice playground surface with the fall protection we need. Bob has always had the materials delivered on a timely basis and is very pleasant to work with. I am sure we will be doing more business Bob and SafetyFirst in the future.

Parks and Forestry Superintendent
City of Brookings, SD