It gets harder and harder to believe that there are any "best kept secrets" in the city anymore. Share your views on Toronto's best playground and the fun-seekers will arrive en masse. Who can blame them? Outdoor play spaces are worth their weight in gold.
Playgrounds have come a long way. Images from the Toronto Public Library's Digital Archive give us some insight.
Then & Now:
Global playgrounds are fascinating. An upcycled ambulance in Malawi is the crown jewel in a fully accessible playground. The designer was committed to encouraging disabled and able-bodied kids to connect in a shared space in order to break down stereotypes about the special needs community.
The Welsh play space documentary, The Land definitely takes a wild stance on play, allowing kids to use hammers/nails or start fires, all with minimal adult involvement. The idea is that kids will be empowered by taking risks and conquering them alone. Do you agree that risk is necessary to child development or are you feeling uneasy? Watch the documentary...
"How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature" was written to help kids reclaim a lost love of the outdoors. Sampson says: metal monkey bars and plastic swings are too prescriptive; replace them with rocks, trees and boulders. Natural play areas excite all of a child's senses, plus imagination.
The Children's Discovery Centre boasts a screen-free, imaginative play space for little ones, complete with a children's library and "pet vet" for stuffed animal check-ups. Bookmark this indoor playground for rainy days.
Grab a kid's book and get to the playground:
1. Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems / 2. Inside Outside by Lizi Boyd / 3. King of the Playground by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor / 4. Outside the Lines by Brad Burg and Rebecca Gibbon / 5. National Geographic Kids Get Outside Guide by Nancy Honovich and Julie Beer / 6. Playground Day! by Jennifer Merz / 7. Howling on the Playground by Gail German / 8. My Dream Playground by Kate Becker
Stay tuned for this year's TD Summer Reading Club, a bilingual and inclusive reading program, which encourages kids to see books as a playground for the mind. Summertime freedom means outdoor fun and plenty of these recommended reads get in the spirit.