Toronto

A new kind of playground urged for Toronto's kids

A trip back to the good ol' days may be just what Toronto's youngest citizens need, one councillor argued Thursday. Joe Cressy urged the parks and environment committee to look into finding new sites for so-called "adventure playgrounds."

Committee agrees to have staff come up with new potential sites next year

An adventure playground contains few, if any, traditional playground structures. Coun. Joe Cressy wants to see more of them in Toronto, and on Thursday the parks and environment committee agreed to have staff look for some potential sites.

A trip back to the good ol' days may be just what Toronto's youngest citizens need, one city councillor argued Thursday.

Coun. Joe Cressy, who represents Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina, urged the parks and environment committee to look into finding new sites for so-called "adventure playgrounds."

​They're open, outdoor areas, often supervised, that have done away with the traditional slides and swings. Instead, kids are given a few tools, perhaps some running water and sand, and the freedom to create their own fun.

The committee agreed to have staff come up with some potential sites for adventure playgrounds by the first quarter of 2017.

"Unstructured, free, fun play — that's how kids began to play," Cressy told the committee. "Over time, I think perhaps the adventure play elements have been lost.

"We've become so liable-conscious that we've created play equipment that you can go up and down, but nothing else," he said.

No playing with matches

Adventure play areas are enjoying a renaissance across North America, Cressy said, because it's been shown that less-structured play creates kids who enjoy teamwork and are adept at problem-solving.

At least one such play area already exists in Toronto.

Dufferin Grove Park has a large sandy area that has some basic tools and a water feature, he said, and the children invariably gravitate to the water feature. 

As for safety concerns?  "Obviously you're not going to put something in there that's harmful," Cressy said. "You're not going to have kids playing with matches."

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