Sunday, March 18, 2012

Nature Play Community Workshop

In Portland we celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a community design event for a nature play area that will be built in Westmoreland Park. I could not have anticipated how much the kids were going to enjoy the event. Their creativity, teamwork and ingenuity were all in full gear. It was an amazing start to an exciting project.

The Concept:
Portland Parks and Recreation and GreenWorks Landscape Architecture invited the community to play with natural materials, talk about natural play, make models and lay the groundwork for the upcoming design at the Westmoreland Park. The City of Portland recognizes the benefits of letting children play in nature; including physical, mental and social benefits. At a Parks and Recreation staff workshop earlier this week risk, maintenance and criteria for natural play were discussed.

The Activities:
Activities ranged from having adults remember their childhood play experiences, to free building and water play areas, to model making stations. The design team was able to talk with kids and adults about what they would like to see in the natural play area.

The Outcome:
We had fun! I think everyone enjoyed themselves. The kids were amazing. Nothing had to be explained, they just arrived and dove in. Kids of different ages and abilities were working together, creativity soared, and we got amazing feedback and ideas for the play area.

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