Monday, 8 March 2021

Our Indoor Play Saviour From Ligneus Play

Over the last year, our lives have all been turned upside down in more ways than one. From work-related worries, to concerns for family members and all of the many other issues that this pandemic has brought up - it's been a challenging time for most of us. 

One often forgotten group who's lives have been changed dramatically is, of course, children. With huge changes to their school and educational routines, a sudden absence of play dates and extra-curricular activities, a lack of contact with extended family members and time spent with grown-ups who are trying to adjust to the work-from-home/home school juggle - it can't have been an easy year for our kids.

One thing my own children missed most of all during the first lockdown was play parks. Something so simple, that we'd always taken completely for granted before without truly realising how much pleasure it brought and how much our kids needed that regular opportunity to run off some steam.

This time around, with the lockdown through the winter months - we found ourselves back in the same position. There have been weeks at a time which were far too wet and cold for us to visit any of our local parks, or even get outside for walks - which meant the children were, quite literally, climbing the walls (and the sofa, and anything else they could!)

Children need the opportunity to climb, to explore, to play - and trying to give them those opportunities in a small living space has been difficult to say the least. We've had countless nights where they've struggled to sleep due to lack of exercise during the day time.

But our saviour came in the form of a wooden play set and it has honestly been one of the best pieces of play equipment we've ever brought into our home. Allow me to introduce you to Ligneus Play.

What Is It?

The Junior Indoor Climbing Set from Ligneus Play is a Pikler inspired wooden play apparatus designed for children of all ages, particularly great from those in 4-10 year age range (there is also a  Nursery set which is great for younger tots.)

If you're not familiar with the term "Pikler inspired" then allow me to explain. Dr Emmi Pikler was a Hungarian paediatrician and child play theorist whose work set the foundations for many child-focused care and play techniques used today. She created the Pikler Triangle, which has been used around the world to help encourage motor skill development, hand/eye co-ordination and social skills such as boundary testing and language development in children.

The Junior Climbing Set builds upon the principles of the Pikler triangle, with the addition of modular designed play equipment including ladders, slides, arches and many other accessories which make the set multi-functional.

All of the pieces are made from lacquered premium sustainable birch ply wood, and use a food safe lacquer to create a natural look and easy-clean finish. They are tested in excess of 100kg and are both durable and beautiful.

The products come in three different colour options - natural, grey and the newly released pastel rainbow range which is just beautiful.

How Is It Used? Do Kids Like It?

My children quite simply adore it and ever since it arrived, they have played with it almost constantly. I am pretty flawed at the massive reduction in their screen time, as all they want to do is climb!

Because of the clever modular design, the play opportunities from the set are pretty endless. You can use all of the pieces together to create a climbing frame, you can change where each piece is placed (my kids love to switch the slide in to the middle of the set to become a balance bridge!), and you can of course use each piece individually too.

The arch is probably the piece that gives us the most play value of all at the moment - they love to use it as a climbing bridge, turn it on its side to use as either a castle turret in their games of "Princesses & Knights" or even to use as a Jail in their games of "Cops and Robbers!". 
They also love to turn it upside down, layer it with soft pillows and use it as a rocking chair or a "chill out spot" as they call it. 
They also love to cover both the arch and the triangle over with blankets to become an amazing den!

The slide too holds lots of play value - it can be used with the triangle or arch as a simple slide, but when you turn it over - you'll see that it has kidney-shaped food holds which allow it to become a climbing wall!

 My kids also love to use it for Pirate games of "Walk the plank" which I think really demonstrates that the imaginative play opportunities with this set are truly endless. I love to see how creative the children are in how they use each of the pieces. 

We've used it for obstacle courses, dens, castles, labyrinths, jails, planks, pirate ships, chill-out spots - the possibilities are really only limited by your imagination.

The set is great for encouraging hand-eye coordination, gross motor skills, speech & language development through play, agility, strength and imaginative role play.

The triangle is another multi-use piece - my children love to use it for climbing, alongside the slide, and draped with a blanket to become a den. But you can also purchase a desk/easel attachment which I just love - by adding this additional piece you can turn the triangle into the perfect desk for little ones. You can also place the desk addition flat to the triangle and use it as an easel - so clever!

How Easy Is It To Set Up & Store?

As with most things in our home, the task of setting up the play equipment fell to my other half - Jon. He put the whole set together in less than an hour, and was incredibly impressed by the quality of the packaging and the ease of set-up.

The product quality is easy to see - every possible safety aspect has been considered, even down to additional stabilisation measures included for the already-secure triangle. The instructions were easy to follow, and the items went together with ease. 

When it comes to storage, this was something I was concerned about as we don't have a lot of space at home - but as the triangle folds up and the majority of the items are quite flat, it hasn't been an issue. The biggest item to store is the arch, but we keep all of the other pieces behind this and it stores neatly into a corner of the playroom when not in use (rarely!).

Who Are Ligneus Play?

Ligneus Play are part of Ligneus Group, who are the leading UK-based manufacturing group providing sustainable wooden products to the hospitality and catering sector.  

When the pandemic hit, they found themselves - like many companies - in a tricky situation, with much of their previous client base forced to close. So they looked at their skills and strengths, and decided to branch out in a new direction - creating beautiful and sustainable products to keep children entertained at home, made to the highest quality right here in the UK.

By doing this, they were delighted not to have to lay off any of their staff and were even able to recruit new members to their teams. I personally found their story of survival through the pandemic very inspiring.

Where Can I Get One?

You can browse the full selection of products and purchase from Ligneus Play's online store -

Be sure to use my discount code for 10% off your purchases, too. Just enter the code SSM10 at the checkout.

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