WILD PLAY Garden - at Centennial Park
The Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden opens in Centennial Park and it is a $4M state-of-the-art nature play space designed to engage the five senses, and help reconnect children to nature. Complete with water, natural vegetation and soaring heights, children have the chance to get lost in the wonderment of nature. WILD PLAY features dry creek beds, an arteisan water play area, a bamboo forest, banksia tunnels, turtle mounds and the Park’s first tree house. It’s a dramatic landscape in which children are encouraged to run, jump, play, learn and discover the wild side of life.
Children today are growing up with Nature Deficit Disorder according to author Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods.
Climbing trees should be a childhood rite of passage, playground equipment doesn’t quite cut it. There are so many life lessons in a simple act of climbing a tree, and important for their development; physically, psychologically and emotionally. They learn things such as sensory awareness, risk assessment, patience, challenging themselves and working through fear, developing balance and other motor skills.
It’s so important to create inspirational and engaging outdoor spaces for children to engage in Wild Play. For their healthy development, children need to explore, learn from and connect with the natural environment. We’re not just talking about playgrounds and picnic areas, we mean outdoor spaces with unique character that offer a diverse range of experiences that are as close as possible to wilderness. Children need to be able to dig in the dirt, make mud pies and cubbies and these activities are undeniably wholesome compared to watching tv, playing computer games or on iPhones. As human beings we are meant to have close and important relationships with the natural world. This is especially true for the children as we need to cultivate in them a curiosity and sense of inquiry and hopefulness about the natural world.
Wild Play gardens are about nature-based learning in an inquiry, child-led, play-based, social constructivist, hands-on experiential style that also ignites children’s imagination and sense of wonder and excitement about nature. It is not content bases but rather process based. Through the process of wild play the child learns and assimilates new information and increases problem-solving through divergent thinking.
Engaging children in ‘wild play’ enable them to observe the natural environment, guiding them on a path towards environmental awareness and guardianship. Their wellbeing improves, they learn problem solving skills, develop their imagination, build self-motivation and increase their learning capacity. If children do not have a relationship with the earth, then they will not care what happens to it. Through their connections to the natural environment, children will become invested in protecting the future of the planet.
WILD PLAY GARDEN now open from 10am – 5pm daily.
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