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Adventure Playgrounds

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CELOS Prezis

on 8 November 2013

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Transcript of Adventure Playgrounds

We learned how a park that
has no water but wants food
can rig up a water supply like this:

But then city planners said
half the swings
had to go.

Dufferin Grove Park in 1993:
Beside the playground there was a lot of empty space.
Sometimes junk got dumped there, so one day some kids and park neighbours cleaned it up.

The mall across the street
donated $21,000 to liven up the park.
$10,000 went to build a basketball court.
The rest went toward making
an adventure playground

They surrounded it with logs.
For $200, some youth came and made some wood-chip paths.
A park neighbour made a sign:
"Big Back Yard"
The first kids to discover the sandpit
built a doorway into the new area.
for $1000, an artist was hired to do some crafts with the kids. They started with some colourful decorations for the doorway
for $500, a clown was hired to do a few circus activities with the kids
we needed
a shed
to store materials,
The artist went to a second-hand store and bought cheap old clothes by the pound, for $30. She and some kids ripped them up into strips to do crafts.

An old tree that fell down
was cut up into sections
to make table bases.
The park staff donated
some leftover plywood.

For $60 we bought garden shovels for the kids to dig.
the sandpit worked for all ages
different kinds of forts were built
For $3000, summer helpers were hired. Signs were put up on poles, listing the many drop-in activities
The circus teacher set up a tightrope.
For $400, the circus teacher made
6 pairs of light aluminum stilts.
They were a big hit.
For $60 the artist bought real clay and set it up on a picnic table.
The kids said "adventure playgrounds need a campfire to cook our food"
A chef came and did some cooking with troublemaker kids.
some school classes came to play, and if it rained,
they put up a tarp -- like camping
Once a farmer came and brought food to cook together
a 14-acre
downtown Toronto
park with a soccer field,
an outdoor ice rink for winter, quite a few trees, and a simple wood-and-metal playground. The playground didn't get a lot of use from kids
past toddler-age.
This didn't turn out to be much fun.
For $4000, city staff dug
an old-fashioned sandpit
beside the playground,
20 feet by 40 feet.
The artist painted a mural on the park fence.
so for $1100, a local carpenter built the standard city plywood shed. The artist painted it in a cheerful pattern
So we made
some game
tables for
people to
play checkers
and chess
The park staff brought in some leftover tree branches for
tipi poles. Neighbours donated old fabric, for tipi covers.
For $300, we built a little food cart for the playground, for coffee and cookies (pay what you can)
more kids started using the old wooden playground beside the sandpit
city staff built a farm-fence
to keep the dogs from running through
we painted a pretend bake oven underneath the climber
The planners said the wooden playground should be replaced with a modern plastic-coated structure for $150,000.
But park users told their
councillor they didn't want
a new structure. So the old
one was allowed to stay,
the swings too.

the wooden structure is sociable and adaptable
... enough trunk
was left to make a
three-sided bulletin board
park staff built a few more simple benches
just outside the fence there was an unused tetherball pole, so staff bought some tetherballs
people came and picnicked outside the playground farm-fence
staff scrounged old picnic tables and the old men set up card games beside the kids playing checkers
sometimes the grandmas came
the sandpit continued to be the biggest attraction
for $64 we bought a tap and a hose that attached to an in-ground water outlet
then the kids started making rivers and dams together
the kids were so busy learning engineering, they never wanted to go home
in the
we made
and cooked
hot soup

The cost of setting up the adventure playground was $5660, with another
$5000 for doing programs there:

manufacturers began to offer "natural playgrounds"
this Toronto "natural playground" has a dry-sand play area and many log features
But here's a problem:
the cost for this playground was $400,000
For instance, in Europe, waterplay has been a playground feature for many years, using a pump instead of a tap
But here's a problem:
somebody gets stuck pumping water.
This leads to arguments instead of fun with engineering
At a $28.5 million modern-design Toronto park
and water treatment plant, water play is cut off
from the rest of the sand play area
At another $1 million Toronto Park the water engineering is already designed in concrete, just for looking
But they had
a good idea:
the water runs
off into plant
irrigation channels.

when a tree had
to be cut down...

We learned how to make
a temporary brick oven
to bake pizza

Then in the past few years
something new happened

A Quebec company sells a plastic waterplay area with four module game installations. That can't be cheap.
we think it works better to stick with sand, water, logs, and shovels.
It's amazingly safe, too: in 20 years, there have been only cuts and scrapes
in the sand pit
In 20 years, the old wooden playground has led to only
a few broken arms on the monkey bars, nothing worse.

To get in touch with us:

Also, waterplay can be
made too complicated

Adventure Playground
(most materials were scrounged, cost was $34)
Full transcript