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Nature Playgrounds for your Bucket List

When planning our blog schedule for the coming months, COVID-19 wasn't on our radar and social distancing wasn't a thing. Fast forward to now, and the world is a little different. We may not be able to go to the local nature park just now, we can certainly make plans for the future.

Nature Play Week was 25 March - 5th April. The organisers of Nature Play Week are encouraging people to still go outside into nature where possible. We are lucky in many parts of Australia to have access to bush, sand, dirt and fresh air.

Photo byJessica Lewis from Pexels

Right now, nature playgrounds are off-limits under social distancing rules. We saw a great way to capture all the "I wish we could moments" that happen during isolation. Take those ideas, write them on a piece of paper and pop them in a jar. When the pandemic is over and we can return to all our normal activities, we'll have a wonderful stock of activity ideas we can dip into for some adventure.

Here's a list of Nature Playgrounds from North to South the Out Loud team recommends you visit when you can:

1. Crooked Carrot Cafe (Forest Hwy, Myalup) - it's fitting that this one sits top of our list because it has it all - great play activities for all ages, coffee, toilets, parking and plenty of space to hang out. The Crooked Carrot team have designed an awesome nature playground with lots of texture.

2. Ridley Place Foreshore Playground (Old Coast Road, Australind) - still under construction, this playground may open just in time for some post-COVID nature play. The plans look amazing with lots of changes in terrain (think big hills!), a flying fox, water play and basket swing. We can't wait to try it out.

3. Treendale (Virgo Brace, Australind) - this park is a good stop before or after a shopping trip for the kids to burn some energy. Full of strong muscle work, this playground will have the kids pulling themselves up to the top and swinging themselves down to the ground just like their animal friends in the wild.

4. Clifton Park Nature Play Area (Lucy Victoria Ave, Australind) - this newly opened play space has a clever design and lots of fantastic nature play opportunities. Perfect for primary school aged children, you'll be able to spend hours here on all the different climbing activities. There's also smaller playground on the same site for the younger children in your family.

5. Eaton Foreshore Nature Playground (Pratt Road, Eaton) - another recent renovation, this playground has stepped up to the next level with a mix of nature based & traditional playground equipment. It also has a path going around the play space which is perfect for bikes & scooters.

Featured photos: L-R Clifton Park Nature Play Area, Eaton Foreshore Nature Playground, Crook Carrot Cafe, Manjimup Heritage Park (photos with thanks to the Crooked Carrot website, Shire of Dardanup & Shire of Manjimup)

6. Koombana Foreshore Playground (Anchorage Cove, Bunbury) - popular with locals & tourists, we love this long stretch of playground and all the different zones. There's play equipment, sand, water play, a flying fox and plenty of grass. It's also located right next to the beach, so you can take a dip and play on the beach sand too!

7. Des Ugle Park (Westwood St, Withers) - one of the original nature play spaces in Bunbury, this classic park has lots of space and several different zones for balance, climbing and swinging activities to try.

8. Sea Play on the Bay (Busselton Foreshore, Busselton) - this is another recent installation to the nature playgrounds of the south west. With a nautical theme, this wood & sand play area is fun for all ages and full of sensory input. The addition of water play also makes it perfect for a hot day. Make this a full day outing with easy access to cafes, toilets and other fun activities in the area.

9. Yallingup Adventure Playground (Yallingup Beach Road, Yallingup) - this little hidden gem is another coastal playground inspired by the sand & waves of the beach.

10. Manjimup Heritage Park (Edwards St, Manjimup) - this adventure playground is made almost exclusively of wood as a tribute to the forestry history of the town of Manjimup. There's also a 17m high staircase with a viewing platform and amazing slide! If you've got some extra time, the grounds of the Heritage Park are worth exploring including the wood turning shed where you can often watch members of the Woodturners Association turn wood into amazing projects.

You can also create nature play experiences from home. Head outside and see how many of these ideas from Nature Play WA (click here to see the list) you can tick off.

We'd love to hear some of your favourite nature places to visit and see some of your at home nature adventures! Join in the chat on our Facebook page - Out Loud Developmental Services.

The Out Loud team

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