Some of our fondest memories are from spending time playing outside yet children nowadays are being limited in their ability to roam and play out of doors. Earth Day Canada believes outdoor play is the foundation of environmental education and action and should be a natural part of the day to day lives of children. By addressing play provisions in schools, parks, streets and community green spaces, Earth Day Canada is working hard to put self-directed outdoor play back into the lives of children.
One way Earth Day Canada is creating a lasting impact is through ParkPlay. Parks and playgrounds often house standard playground equipment for children to play on, a model of play Earth Day Canada is rethinking. Instead, Earth Day Canada believes every neighborhood should have dedicated space for children and youth that offers green elements and loose parts to allow children to discover nature while challenging them physically, building emotional resilience, and developing social connections. An important aspect of play is understanding that a child’s right to play may involve taking some risks. Risk-taking allows children to learn valuable lessons about themselves and the world around them, helping to build their capacity for resilience.
Adventure Playgrounds are created for and accessed by all children, modelling a higher standard of play. – Earth Day Canada
Adventure Playgrounds are one way Earth Day Canada is working towards fostering environments for children to engage in risky outdoor play and engage with loose parts in green space to foster creativity and innovation. Adventure Playgrounds are curated wild spaces offering a variety of natural materials, loose parts and tools and are supported by staff trained in playwork. Read more about the history of Adventure Playgrounds here.
In 2018, Earth Day Canada hosted several Pop Up Adventure Playgrounds for children to engage in outdoor play with loose parts.
Update: Between 2016-2019 Earth Day Canada staged over 100 pop-up playgrounds in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area using natural and upcycled loose parts, modeling playwork practices and supporting child-directed play experiences.