July 17th, 2024

Play Fest creates outdoors awareness

By Lethbridge Herald on June 13, 2024.

Herald Photo by Justin Seward Reggie, Sameul and Sean Metcalfe begin to build a house out of parts from the Lethbridge College's loose parts playground during Nature Play Fest at Henderson Park on Saturday.

Justin Seward

Bringing awareness to outdoor activities was the focus of the annual Helen Schuler Nature Centre Nature Play Fest at Henderson Lake Park on Saturday.

“It’s all about encouraging kids and families to play outdoors and highlighting all the local opportunities that there are for families to get outdoors,” said Taylor Hecker, a Nature Centre program coordinator.

“We have about 20 different organizations here and they each provide an activity designed to get people outside and active and playing in nature.”

Hecker said often there is this perceived barrier to play.

“Whether it’s cost, or availability or safety sometimes even and there’s lots of opportunities out there and a lot of them are free or low cost that are available to families,” said Hecker.

Hecker was excited about the Downtown Lethbridge BRZ  who was there with their downtown boxes.

“They’re these boxes where people can come and get the code and unlock them and there’s stuff to play with in there,” he said.

Hecker would like to grow the event to the point where more groups are attending.

“At the college we are always really advocating for getting outdoors and having families come and explore the great outdoors,” said  Sabrina Nesbit, Lethbridge College Early Childhood Education program instructor.

“We are really hoping that the more exposure our children can get in nature, the more they will want to take care of it and help sustain it for their futures.”

Lethbridge College had their loose parts playground for kids and families to build things with.

“The theory behind loose parts is that there is no wrong way to play,” said Nesbit.

“We are inspiring creativity and we’re hoping that the children can work together and build those communication skills while they’re working through problems, and coming together to create solutions for some of the amazing things they like build.”

Nesbit was not surprised about the traffic at their booth.

“We’re always the big hit here at Nature Play Day,” said Nesbit.

“We’re inspiring that free play attitude, so lots of families like to just come back and sit down and each their lunch and just let their children be children and learn through play.”

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