Kiwanis Park, in the City of London, has a new natural playground. The City’s Neighbourhood Decision Making program encourages citizens to submit ideas to improve neighbourhoods. A submission for a natural playground was the winning choice by community vote for city funding. Earthscape collaborated with Landscape Architects, citizens, local politicians and neighbours to design a space that was accessible, creative and, made of natural materials.
The neighbourhood playground is now a magnet for children and families from across the City for engaging, creative and unprescribed play.
Situated along a well-travelled bike path in the City’s southeast, the new playground at Kiwanis is loosely themed in colour and form to reflect a monarch butterfly. A sculpture of connected circles forms the shape of a monarch caterpillar. The sculpture is fully climbable and children can navigate it in multiple ways – going over, under, and through it. The sculpture is functionally linked with Post and Rope pieces, including Log Steppers to a leaf platform that appears to have a bite taken out!
The orange poured-in-place rubber accessible safety surfacing and the stained colours of posts and nets, reflect the natural colours of milkweed and the butterfly itself. A small hill slide with an accessible transfer bench creates topographical change in the space. A large Log Jam climber with nets and sliding rails is the most challenging unprescribed play opportunity. It offers height and difficulty levels for children to test their limits and physical skills. An orange basket swing is fun for multiple children to use together.