Our willow dens have really bloomed in the last few dry weeks and the children are enjoying going into them to have conversations and be away from the business of the wider playground. It is lovely to hear snatches of conversation from within them or singing etc. as two or three children gather inside them.
We created a little reading nook under the slide a few years back and you often find solitary children in there enjoying books or again a little group gathered together sharing a favourite book. This class added a few extra chairs to allow for more friends to pile in.
The tunnel in between the 2 slides always proves a popular spot for children to gather together and chat or just watch the world go by - it is also the go to spot when a child knows they have done something they shouldn't - I think they realise no adult will be able to get up there to them!
When designing new playground spaces I believe that little spaces to be out of sight and away from the hustle and bustle are important. I can only imagine that nursery with 25 other 3 and 4 years olds must be hard for those children who are introverts and they really need time to be allowed to just sit and reflect on they have experienced that day.