Nature Playscape at Infirmary Mound Park

We have some exciting news to share and we would like your feedback! The survey link is below.

The Licking Park District is proposing a large Nature Playscape at Infirmary Mound Park to be installed in phases over the next few years. Imagine standing at Shelter 5 and looking out onto a beautiful landscape that invites children and adults to explore. Rocks, logs, stumps, and hills beg for climbing and rolling. Slides built into the hill ask for a fast descent. Ropes structures among the trees allow the pretense of an alter ego, be it an explorer or a trapeze artist. A slow moving intermittent stream invites creeking and a search for critters, while a zipline hints at the thrill of danger (in a safe way.  A willow hut allows for secret meetings. Prairie paths of native flowers invite pollinators to visit and encourage kids to become naturalists, while benches allow parents to relax under large inviting trees.  The overall layout, referencing the Alligator Mound, and other playscape features will celebrate Licking County’s unique cultural history. That is the vision of a natural playscape at Infirmary Mound Park.

Natural Playscapes/playgrounds are a growing trend in the field of parks and recreation. These outdoor spaces are carefully created to facilitate unstructured nature play in a way that encourages creativity, exploration, and hands-on learning.  Research has found children play longer on natural playgrounds. They also show greater improved physical fitness and social and cognitive benefits such as increased cooperative behavior and constructive play as compared to traditional playgrounds. In essence, kids are happier, healthier, and smarter when they have access to immersion and play time in nature.  Research has also shown that kids with experience being outside in nature show greater stewardship of our natural resources as adults.

In today’s age, children spend anywhere from 4-9 hours a day on screen and are increasingly disconnected from the natural world. Many do not have access to green spaces. The intention of the Nature Playscape at Infirmary Mound Park is to be a regional destination for families. Here children can explore this ancient, yet somehow ‘new’, and healthier way to play.

Scroll through the pictures for more information on features and inspirations. Please fill out the feedback survey here: https://forms.gle/jBWHkmKLMUGWAirY8

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