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Mobile Adventure Playground

images of adventure playgrounds

A space for kids to play in a new way.

The City piloted a free, mobile adventure playground in five city parks in the summer of 2016: North Glenmore Park, Canyon Meadows, Canmore Park, Riley Park and Forest Lawn.

Check back in 2017 for future dates.

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.

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.