The constant narrative surrounding children's activities seems to be, "you need to get outside more!"
While it may sound more like a parent harping on a child playing too many video games, there's truth to that statement. A report from childmind.com says that spending time in nature is beneficial to children because:
- It gets kids moving
- It promotes creativity and imagination
- It reduces stress and fatigue
There's a lot more on their list, which you can read here.
And now, thanks to an upcoming project, kids will be able to have better access to a safe play area that also surrounds them with nature.
As reported by Second Wave Southwest Michigan, a new playground of sorts is slated to open in June of 2022 in downtown Kalamazoo. However, this won't be your typical playground. Instead, it's dubbed as the Children's Nature Playscape.
In place of slides or swings, kids will be able to climb trees, make their way across rocks and logs, and even splash in some water. All of which will be centralized in Bronson Park.
To get a better idea, check out this walkthrough of this natural playground located at Festival Commons in New York:
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, getting children outside has a number of benefits. All of which, I can only assume, would be even more important due to the pandemic.
The project was originally started in 2019 when the First Congregational Church funded the purchase of the property. However, with the pandemic and current, ongoing delays of supplies, delays with scheduling contractors, and, now, the winter season, it looks like construction on the Children's Nature Playscape will have to wait until 2022.
Organizers are shooting for a soft opening in June of 2022. You can read more about the planned features for the park, including accessibility to disabled children, here. As well, you can see the concept designs for the park here.
In the meantime, the Kalamazoo area offers a number of "regular" playgrounds for the kids to enjoy. Like:
1. Markin Glen County Park
Markin Glen County Park on Westnedge in Kalamazoo features a swimming beach, lots of trails, a playground, and more. As a heads up, there is an admission fee. Read more here.
2. Westfield Park
Westfield Park has a very distinct, blue playground which you can see in the above photo. Aside from the playground, there are also tennis courts and soccer fields. See more here.
3. Harbors West Park
Located in Portage, Harbors West Park offers a playground, in-line skating, and volleyball. See their full list of features here.
Those are just a few of the many parks we have in southwest Michigan. See the full list from Kzoo Kids here.