I don't have fond memories of hardscape as a child. My knees seemed always to find a way to become skinned when I was around pavement. Whether it was due to a fall at recess when in school, or due to wiping out when biking on vacation, scabs weren't shy about keeping my knees company.
But Joe Norton says that scraped knees and knuckles don't always have to go hand-in-hand with hardscape. On Page 3 of this article on hardscape ideas with kids in mind, Joe shows a cool tunnel leading into a garden. The tunnel was made specifically to arouse kids' interest in the garden.
On Page 2 of the same article, the focus is on a mixed-hardscape feature that will capture children's imagination. Says Joe: "Kids love the different textures and colors that these materials provide." It's not as knee-friendly as the tunnel project but still well worth the trouble.
Read article: Hardscape Ideas for Children