New playground design lets kids reconnect through natural play

New natural playground in London, Ont. on July 5, 2021. (Daryl Newcombe/CTV London)

A first-of-its-kind playground in London has opened to rave reviews.

The ‘natural playground’ is made primarily from logs, rope, and stone, rather than steel and plastic.

It recently opened in Kiwanis Park near Trafalgar Street.

“It was fun! My brother and I thought it was like an obstacle course,” exclaimed 9-year-old Brooke Tynkaluk after playing on the stacked logs and nets for the first time.

The organic layout encourages less formal play than traditional swings and slides.

“This is a new design for the city of London,” explains Ward 2 Councillor Shawn Lewis. “It spurs imagination and creativity with the kids. They feel like they are a part of the environment around them.”

The location is easily accessible from the southeast branch of the Thames Valley Parkway.

The natural playground was an idea submitted by area residents to the Neighbourhood Decision Making Program at city hall.

“Members of the community can pitch ideas, there is a vote, and the winning ideas get implemented,” explains Deputy Mayor Josh Morgan.

Morgan adds that the annual program was instrumental in showing a public desire for innovative playgrounds that council supported with additional funding.

“This is a great example of residents coming up with the idea, and the city backing that.”