Share this page Print

Play in the City of Calgary

kids playing

Play is the earliest means for learning and is of lifelong importance. Along with the physical health benefits, play is also a vehicle to support children’s fundamental social and cognitive skill development. Children face challenges such as sedentary behaviours, over-planned schedules and parental concerns over safety that many believe are reducing their chances of enjoying healthy and active lives. With the help of the organizations who signed the Calgary Play Charter, our goal is to create a variety of play opportunities throughout Calgary.

Play opportunities for you to try

  • Nature Play Spaces
    Alternative playgrounds that use natural elements such as sand, water, wood, landforms, plants and boulders to inspire active and creative outdoor play, and connect people, young and old, to nature.
  • Mobile Adventure Playgrounds (seasonal)
    Dynamic spaces that 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.
  • Seasonal Community Programs
    Wide variety of exciting seasonal programs and special events that cater to children, youth and families, all led by our staff.
  • Loose Parts Pilot
    Loose parts are moveable objects that children can carry, combine, put together and take apart in multiple ways. In a play partnership with Vivo and First 2000 Days Network, loose parts were brought to six pilot communities in 2017. Watch for an update on how we will move forward in 2018.

Why are we doing this?

The City of Calgary was one of the first in Canada to declare its support of Article 31 of the U.N.Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that the child has a right to leisure, play, and participation in cultural and artistic activities. In 2015, ParticipACTION released an evidence-based position statement that suggests Canada could increase its poor grade by focusing on active outdoor play. For these reasons, we have addressed play as a critical social component to a healthy city, and have created several initiatives to broaden the awareness and importance of play.

We also received funding from Lawson Foundation which has allowed us to; conduct research with Calgary parents on forms of play and play spaces; pilot evidence-based play programs; and create a municipal Play Charter. Additionally, Council provided funding to support the 2017 International Play Conference as well as, to continue to build and enhance play infrastructure in City parks.