“… a ditch somewhere – or a creek, meadow, woodlot, or marsh …These are places of initiation, where the borders between ourselves and other creatures break down, where the earth gets under our nails and a sense of place gets under our skin.”

Robert Michael PyleThe Thunder Tree
If you’ve ever climbed trees, built forts, made mud pies, dammed up water, dug in sand, climbed rocks, jumped in leaves or had fun outside in other, similar ways, you’ve experienced natural play. The Riveredge Natural Play Area is a special place for children of all ages to explore and experience nature in a hands-on, open-ended way. It offers children chances to wonder and experiment, pretend, manipulate the environment and interact with nature, animals, interesting insects and other children. By applying Riveredge’s expertise, and using its natural setting, the Natural Play Area provides opportunities for kids to discover the wonder of nature’s complexity that will lead to a fuller appreciation of the beauty of our world.

A survey of 600 students in grades 1-4 conducted by The Natural Playground Company concluded that 95% of the students enjoyed natural playgrounds compared to the conventional slides and swings. Some of the student responses included:

  • I can play in nature
  • There are more things to do
  • It’s peaceful
  • There’s more of a chance to see wildlife
We have incorporated a variety of natural elements such as tree stumps of varying heights, large rocks, stepping stones and tree trunks for kids to jump, leap, hop and balance on.  Each of these features provides variety and healthy challenges when children are testing and learning physical skills. The Natural Play Area also includes places to hide, sit quietly, reflect, read a book or daydream.  Some of the elements your children will enjoy in Riveredge’s Natural Play Area include:
  •  Rocky Stream Channel where children can leap from rock to rock, float a raft and listen to the soothing sounds of flowing water
  • Silo Cavern adorned with tiles painted by Riveredge Nature Journeys summer campers
  • Sand, Soil and Water Play Area where children can create their own sand art masterpieces and dig for buried treasure
  • Tamarack Canopy Platform provides ample climbing opportunities and allows one to feel like a bird high in the trees
  • Vernal Pond this shallow pool of water is perfect for mucking about and catching frogs
  • Tree House overlooking the pondwhere your child’s imagination can run free
  • Grassy Hill for running, rolling or sledding down
  • Snake Hibernaculum where you can catch a glimpse of a snake if you are lucky

The area is designed to encourage children to use their imaginations, stimulate their senses and nurture their curiosity. The child in all of us will find this place irresistible! We hope it becomes a destination for your family as you look for healthy, environmentally friendly, age appropriate and affordable activities for your children.