"Haste thee, nymph, and bring with thee
Jest and youthful Jollity,
Quips and Cranks, and wanton Wiles,
Nods, and Becks, and Wreathéd Smiles,...
Sport, that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter, holding both his sides."
John Milton, from L'Allegro, ca.1632
From the eye-catching charm of a treehouse to the subtle invitation of a cave, spaces for active play and solitary contemplation need not be traditional wooden or metal play structures. The elements from which we form gardens - water, soil, trees, stone - can be shaped to encourage a child's exploration of the world. Texture, form and material can all be combined in unexpected ways to challenge and stimulate a young mind in a safe setting.