A space for kids to rediscover play.
The City's mobile adventure playground is back this summer in a park near you. The playground runs May 4 until September 29.
The playground will also be featured at various City Unplug ‘n Play events and community play days throughout the summer. Check with your Community Association for play days in your area.
On-site program staff will serve as play ambassadors, who will supervise but not direct or facilitate play. Parents are encouraged to watch their children play and see how their imaginations soar in this new adventure play space.
Note: The dates and times listed are weather permitting and may be subject to change.
What are adventure playgrounds?
Adventure playgrounds are dynamic spaces where children can explore, create, imagine and learn in their own way. They contain a variety of materials and loose parts such as boards, tires, tape and cardboard that children are free to use to build, demolish, assemble and change their environments as they desire.
Adventure playgrounds are unlike the traditional playgrounds commonly found in City parks. Traditional playgrounds are outdoor play areas usually equipped with standardized play equipment such as swings, slides, monkey bars and the like. They are typically placed in the centre of a large, defined, flat area filled with approved safety surfacing such as pea gravel or pour-in-place rubber. Most traditional playgrounds encourage active, structured play that exercises the body through physical activity.
Although important, active play is not the only type of play children need. Play spaces that meet the needs of creative, imaginative, nature-based and self-directed play are also vital to children’s cognitive, emotional and social development. Adventure playgrounds provide children with opportunities to grow and learn in these areas of development.
2016 Pilot Program
Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2016 mobile adventure playground pilot.
During the pilot, the playground rotated between five parks (North Glenmore Park, Canyon Meadows, Canmore Park, Riley Park and Forest Lawn), five City Unplug & Play events and 12 community play days.
Over 2,000 children and youth visited the playground where they explored, imagined and played in their own way. They built castles, spaceships, cities and more using a variety of materials, tools and loose parts, including pipes, tires and even a bathtub.
On-site program staff served as play ambassadors, supervising the play activities and ensuring the safety of all participants; while parents watched their children’s imaginations soar in this new adventure play space.
Why are we doing this?
In June 2015, ParticipACTION, a national non-profit organization whose mission is to help Canadians sit less and move more, released the report card on the Physical Activity of Children and Youth in Canada. Canada’s grade was a D-. At the same time, the organization released an evidence-based position statement that suggested Canada could increase its grade by focusing on active outdoor play, and taking a stand on the benefits of playing outdoors and playing in a way that challenges and teaches children how to recognize opportunities and risks, problem solve and make sound choices.
On the heels of these announcements, the Lawson Foundation put out a national call to fund projects that could action the recommendations of the position statement. The City of Calgary received a $160,000 grant from the Foundation to conduct research with Calgary parents on this new form of play and play spaces, pilot evidence-based programs, build play infrastructure in City parks and create a municipal Play Charter.