Since the establishment of Nature Play WA in 2009, with their mission to spread the word about the benefits of unstructured outdoor play for kid’s development, nature playgrounds have sprung up all over Western Australia, giving WA kids amazing opportunities to get muddy, scrape knees and navigate risk. With new nature playgrounds popping up everywhere from your local footy oval to primary schools across the state lets explore some of Perth’s best and newest nature playgrounds:
Carawatha Park, Willagee
Any parent will tell you that proximity to good coffee is an absolute must in a playground. With blocks to climb over, a sand pulley system, poles to slide down, paths to scoot around and big shady trees Carawatha Park in Willagee is not only a lovely nature playground, but it’s directly over the road from highly recommended and kidfriendly coffee spot Little Olive Leaf Café.
Photo by Landscape Elements
Pia’s Place, Whiteman Park
Pia’s Place is a nature play space designed for all kids. Nature play for kids with disabilities can often be difficult with access on unstable ground an added challenge. The newly opened Pia’s Place provides opportunities for calculated risk and physical challenge for all levels of ability. Every step from the tram stop to changing facilities have been designed with accessibility in mind.
Stadium Park, Burswood
If your kids like to keep on the move there is no beating the sheer number of invitations to play at Stadium Park. The Chevron Parkland alone includes six different play areas uniquely designed to represent each of the Whadjuk Noongar seasons. Go on a hunt to find “emu eggs,” build a cubby or take on the rope bridge… then on the way back to the carpark Mum and Dad can stop in at the Camfield for a cold one, where a fully fenced sensory play area hides. Remember to take the sunscreen and a footy of course.
Braithwaite Park, Mount Hawthorn
Mount Hawthorn is in the middle of a renaissance at the moment and a family friendly one at that. Hang out on the coffee strip and you’ll soon notice an increase in the number of prams you’ll see. With a significant increase in the number of families in the area in the past 8 years (2007 in 2016: 1854 in 2011, ABS Census data) it’s no wonder the area sports some of the best play options around. Braithwaite Park was designed with input from kids at the local Primary School and features cubby pods, tunnels, forts and water play. It’s fully fenced, and while the nature play zone is designed with bigger kids in mind (7-10years) there is plenty for little ones to do and another play zone just moments away. Good luck getting the kids to come home from that one.
Photo by Australian Institute of Landscape Architects
Russell Brown Adventure Park, Mosman Park
Russell Brown Adventure Park in Minim Cove Mosman Park, is a community project on a site with significant geological and archaeological importance. Fossils have been found in the limestone rock cliffs and Aboriginal tool finds that date back almost 10,000. It’s only fitting that a new generation leaves their mark on the landscape by constructing cubbies under the tree canopy of the play zone, with tree rope swings and water play making the space irresistible for curious little minds, as created by Nature Based Play.
Rocky Pool, Kalamunda
Wherever you are in Perth we are lucky enough to have walking and nature trails within a short drive from home. The thing about nature play is that, well nature in and of itself is a playground. It’s just that we adults sometimes lose our ability to see the adventure in the everyday. Check out Trails WA to find a nature walk near you, or better take the kids for a hike up to Rocky Pool in Kalamunda. The Rocky Pool walk is an easy(ish) 5km walk with the beautiful pool and creek as a reward for the walk. Kids from about 6-7 years should be able to walk this trail – just be mindful of a couple of steep descents. Kids will find plenty to entertain their imaginations on the walk and the fresh air will leave everyone feeling satisfied and ready for bed at the end of the day.
Rio Tinto Naturescape, Kings Park
Get in touch with nature at Rio Tinto’s Naturescape in Kings Park. The dedicated naturespace offers an incredibly engaging way for kids to experience and understand the Western Australian bush. Covering six hectares, it features the likes of large aerial walkways, a creek and waterhole for wading in, a cubby-building area, tunnels, rocks, climbing rocks and more. Once you’ve conquered it pop over the Synergy Parklands for an awesome nature playground and huge dinosaurs to climb on.
Jarvis Park, Coolbellup
The best kind of park is the one that’s close to home. Across Perth councils have been upgrading old public spaces; removing the bore water stained plastic and metal monstrosities of our childhoods and replacing them with interactive spaces heavily featuring natural timbers and textures. This means you don’t have to go far from home to find something new to keep little bodies active. The recently upgraded Jarvis Park in Coolbellup has been transformed from metal heat sink to a nature play space for all ages – with everything from sand tables, climbing and balance beams to basketball courts for the bigger kids.
Header Image Credit: Nature Based Play