Nature play is a new term to describe an old concept - unstructured play outdoors interacting with the natural environment. Once common around the world, children are increasingly spending more time indoors by themselves with TV and video games. This is causing many health issues including childhood obesity and depression.
Salisbury Plays is a new campaign from the City of Salisbury which encourages people of all ages to come outdoors and enjoy the many parks, trails, playgrounds and wetlands in the district. It runs during the school holidays from September 29 to October 12, and complements Nature Play week in Adelaide.
Now that the warm weather has arrived, the school holidays bring a splendid opportunity to explore the many places where you can relax, play, or do interesting things in the City of Salisbury. There are free fun things to do in most of the parks in the area - sometimes people don't realise how much because they just haven't explored.
Perhaps one of the best known attractions near Salisbury is the St Kilda Adventure Playground. Located near the St Kilda Mangrove Trail, both are free to visit and provide hours of enjoyment and activities for kids and adults. They are just down the road from the Tram Museum too, with enough things to do to spend a day at St Kilda.
Instead of having a children's party indoors, why not take the kids outdoors to Carrisbrooke Reserve or nearby Harry Bowey Reserve? There are playgrounds, plenty of space to play football or soccer, shelters with free barbecues, and walking trails along the Little Para River to explore.
Salisbury has many walking trails where you can also ride your bike. Follow the scenic Dry Creek trail from Walkley Heights along a picturesque path which passes many historic buildings. Or start at the unique Japanese themed Mobara Park and follow Dry Creek through Mawson Lakes. The Dry Creek trail and Little Para trails pass through many parks before converging near Globe Derby - quite a way to explore. Click here to download a trail map.
Go Mountain Bike Riding in Cobbler Creek Recreation Park
The shared use trails in Cobbler Creek Recreation Park are very popular for mountain bike riders, and you can follow them down to the pretty Cobbler Creek Reserve. This pretty green space has lots of bird life - see how many types you can spot.
Salisbury has more than fifty wetlands to help reuse precious water, and these are perhaps my favourite places to visit. It can be so tranquil sitting by a creek watching birds bathing, ducks foraging, and dragonflies buzzing breezily by. Kids find wetlands fascinating too because they can observe tadpoles transforming into frogs, see birds nesting, and delight in colourful flowers. Salisbury Plays aims to encourage you and the kids to make the most of these educational and recreational experiences.
Experience the Natural Beauty of Greenfields Wetlands
Greenfields Wetlands can provide hours of enjoyment for people of all ages, and there is a convenient cafe to enjoy a bite to eat too. Or take a break from shopping at the Springbank Plaza, and pop across the road to see the rich diversity of animal and plant life in the Kuarna Park Wetlands. You can find the location of other wetlands here.
Older kids like to play more vigorously, and Unity Park has a skate and scooter park offers fun things to do for teenagers too. A BMX park, dedicated dog park, landscaped wetlands and more shared use trails ensure there's activities for kids of all ages. It's also just down the road from Lindblom Park which hosts a wide range of organised sports at the Pooraka Sporting Club.
Interpretive Signage Explaining the St Kilda Mangrove Trails
Keep an eye out on the City of Salisbury website and Facebook page for many more suggestions of free things to do in local play spaces. The playgrounds are modern with plenty of play equipment for toddlers and small children, and the best thing is that they are all free!
You will also find many more ideas about what to do in Adelaide in this article on Nature Play. South Australia's outdoors has so much to enjoy it seems a pity not to use it, so make the most of Salisbury Plays during the school holidays.