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Shaped logs

Logs that are roughly shaped can have additional play value for holding sand, stones, soil or rain and can stimulate imaginative play. Carving channels along the surface of a log can create tracks for marbles or pebbles to be rolled. Place near water to divert streams along their length.

How to build

  • Ensure that logs are stabilised in the ground or sitting securely above the ground. Roughly cut out a hollow (or series of hollows) with a chainsaw. Shape and smooth with a chisel or adze. Trimming of branches might be necessary to ensure no traps or fall risks exist.
  • Create grooves or ‘runs’ in logs with a chainsaw or chisel. Creating a continuous fall is not essential as children will enjoy pushing objects along channels.
  • A series of logs with connecting channels or parallel channels will create interesting tracks and allow for a variety of games to be played.

Safety issues 

  • Stability of log, potential traps, slippery when wet. 
  • Contact a play specialist to get help trimming branches.
  • Refer to fall heights, falling space and entrapment in safety section of appendix.
Last updated: 8th March 2016

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.