This was not so much a work project, as entry into a realm of enchantment. PLAYLINK had been recommended to the school's headteacher, Ben Hasan. Ben wanted to enhance an already lovely outdoors and we found ourselves with a client whose values and interests pretty much mirrored our own.
So, technical issues aside - we all wanted as big a tree as possible, as many boulders as was thought decent, and sand and water and ropes and...! This was a dream project.
So, yes, we need to design risk taking opportunities because children need to engage with real risks to 'learn what cannot be taught, what is understood only through experience'. And, yes, we need to create opportunities for tactile play, exploratory play - to create features that change in response to the playing child.
The outdoors functions both as a 'free play' and more formal teaching/learning environment. These two functions are not incompatible with each other. It is also the case that the kids were out in all weathers. Children do not melt in the rain.