Let’s start by acknowledging that during Covid19 you need to check local guidelines to find out if public playgrounds are open. If they are, a new natural play area awaits people at Tyler Park. It’s really great to see more natural play options beginning to appear in urban parks because diversity in play environments supports more diverse play. It’s also valuable in connecting people with nature at an early age. The Tyler Park natural play area is great because it takes advantage of a sloped natural area adjacent to the more traditional play equipment installed during the most recent park revitalization effort. That’s the beauty of natural play elements; they can adapt to the conditions of the site to take advantage of areas where it would be difficult or impossible to install the kinds of fixed equipment that require level pads and concrete footers.
The other thing that is nice about this natural play area is that it is seamlessly connected to more traditional play equipment. It will be interesting to watch how children respond to the natural play elements when given a choice between natural and traditional play objects. It’s a great opportunity for Louisville Parks and Recreation to begin exploring how to manage and provide natural play for the citizens of Louisville. A tip of the hat to the Olmsted Parks Conservancy team for making this happen and to the Louisville Parks and Recreation for this next step on the journey toward more natural play.
Parent Opportunity: [Check Covid19 guidelines for Playgrounds] If you end up playing with children here take a moment to step back from their play and watch. Be keen observers of how they interact with the traditional equipment compared to the natural elements. See if you can articulate any differences. That will begin to give you a clue about the value of diverse play environments.
A few notes of interest:
- This play area is tucked into an odd corner of the park where a stone wall for the elevated roadway meets the boundary fence. It has the added challenges of slope and being a hidden corner. Those conditions make it difficult to use and manage this area for multiple reasons. Turning this space over to natural play may be a great solution.
- The rectangular climbing stone mounted on its edge was left over from the park renovation. It turned an object of low play value into high value. Economical and fun.
- Most of the logs and cut stones were available on site. Great use of available materials.
- The chainsaw work and pegging of log slabs is well executed. Now the design team will get to evaluate their craftsmanship over time so they can apply or improve upon it down the road.
First posted 12/15/2020