Non-toxic plants for playgrounds: the appropriate greenery for areas where children are at play

31. March 2021

Children should play in natural surroundings as often as possible. A green environment not only radiates friendliness and cheerfulness but also offers the little ones the opportunity to experience nature. Discover nature with all your senses is the motto. It can happen that leaves and berries end up in children’s hands, and from there, it’s not far to their mouths. It is, therefore, all the more important that only non-toxic plants for children are found on playgrounds. In this article, we will show you which plants are child-friendly and therefore ideally suited for the greening of playgrounds and kindergartens.

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Important: The following information is intended as guidance and should not be equated with the advice of a professional botanist. Please always consult experts for playground planning as well as planting.

Greenery on the playground has important advantages

Non-toxic plants for children with their fresh foliage create a cheerful atmosphere on the playground. However, you can do much more than spread good cheer. For example, as everyone knows, plants produce oxygen. Therefore, if there are many of these air purifiers on the playground, it can be assumed that the air there is also healthier than in concrete surroundings. However, proper planting brings many more benefits.

Sun protection

Sunlight is good for the soul, no question about it. But at high temperatures, the sun can quickly become too much, especially for children. That’s when a place in the shade is needed – and nowhere is that more pleasant than under a tree. Trees are not only pleasing to the eye but also provide excellent natural sun protection. And the best thing about it: in contrast to sun sails or sunshades, they cover more area and, on top of that, you save yourself the hassle of setting them up and taking them down.

Especially in summer, additional sun protection is advisable. Read here which sun protection variants are available for outdoor use.

Sound insulation

The larger the plants, the more leaves. And the denser the leaves, the better the plants protect against noise. This is especially beneficial if the playground area borders a road. The noise of cars is thus effectively sealed off from the play area, making the playground a more relaxing area. Conversely, however, the planting also muffles the noise of children playing, which can be especially helpful in residential areas.


In addition, non-toxic plants serve another practical purpose for children: they can be used as a natural boundary for the playground. Either divide the play area into different areas for example, a football field can be separated wonderfully from the playground area with the help of a hedge. Or as Fencing of the entire playground, for example, from the street. In this way, boundaries are clearly marked. The planting can thus also serve as an orientation aid for children.

Playgrounds and childcare facilities: What should be planted?

The answer is simple: a healthy mix of everything. Non-toxic plants for children, such as perennials, flowers and woody plants, when combined, create a pleasant, natural overall look and provide significant added value to the play space in question. The more non-toxic plants children experience in their everyday lives, the more they learn from them as well. When planning your planting, you should therefore pay as much attention to the functionality of the plants as to their diversity. Trees are recommended for shade, as are shrubs for boundaries. Flowering plants such as perennials and annual flowers, meanwhile, are decorative while instilling in children an awareness of the beauty of nature. With regular contact, by the way, non-toxic plants also awaken children’s first sense of environmental stewardship. A green playground and kindergarten will therefore also benefit the little ones in the long term.

Note: Some plants are even excellent for playing with! Seeds, such as those of the maple tree, fall from the tree in the fall and can be caught and collected from the air. Children may also pick fruits such as rose hips. Burdocks and brittlebush are a great activity, as are snowberries, which are also called “popping berries” because they burst when you throw them on the ground.

Non-toxic plants for children: Plants that you can use without hesitation


  • Maple (sycamore, field and Norway maple)
  • Birch
  • Ash
  • Spruce
  • Willow (woven play equipment willow rod)


  • Lilac
  • Burdock
  • Lesser touch-me-not
  • Snowberry
  • Wild rose


  • Buttercup
  • Daisy
  • Dandelion
  • Deadnettle

Flowers for planting and sowing:

  • Bellis daisies
  • Begonias
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Dahlias
  • Ranunculus
  • Roses
  • Sunflowers
  • Pansies

Note: A few small outdoor beds are also an excellent option for teaching children about nature. Non-toxic plants can be sown there for children to care for on their own. The “green classroom” concept is a proven practice for teaching little ones environmental awareness and letting them interact with plants.

Caution is good when it comes to plants on the playground, but overcaution is not necessary. Playgrounds are usually well planned and landscaped appropriately. Bad experiences with poisonous plants are therefore usually made by children outside public play areas. To find out which plant species can actually be dangerous for your child, read our article on the topic of poisonous plants.

Bild 1 ilkercelik / Essentials Collection /

Bild 2: Andreas Häuslbetz / Essentials Collection /

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