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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 that many believe are reducing their chances of enjoying healthy and active lives. These challenges include physical inactivity; sedentary behaviours (ie; too much screen time); over structured/over planned schedules; and parental concerns over safety.

Variety of play opportunities for you to try

  • Mobile Adventure Playgrounds
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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
    In a play partnership with Vivo, Loose Parts are moveable objects that children can carry, combine, put together and take apart in multiple ways. Check the locations in one of the six pilot communities or in your own backyard.

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 position statement on active outdoor play. 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.