De-stressing is not as much fun as PLAY

In a recent article in Pyschology Today, the author suggests the following technique to reduce children’s stress:

“The best way to reduce stress quickly is by engaging one or more of your senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Each person responds differently to sensory input, so you need to find things that are soothing and/or energizing to you. For example, if your child is a visual person he can relieve stress by surrounding himself with uplifting images. If he responds more to sound, you may find a wind chime, a favorite piece of music, or the sound of a water fountain helps to quickly reduce his stress levels.”

Well…he got the first part right.

Each person de-stresses differently at different times, but I don’t think it is up to parents to find and/or provide the perfect thing – which is just as likely to be wrong as right.

One of the reasons we need rich and diverse play opportunities for children – in schools and neighbourhoods – is precisely to provide children with multiple options for de-stressing – according to their own inchoate but perceived moment-to-moment needs, whether that means calming down or ramping it up – alone or with others.  There is no possibility of self-regulation without a self to work with and that has to be discovered through interactions with “the other” – other persons, other things, the “not-me”.  We know ourselves through what we are not.  There are so many wonderful paradoxes in the becoming and being human.

We can try to social engineer human beings. Indeed we must develop systems and common ethical understandings, but for a few hours a day, can we allow ourselves to nurture the mystery that we all – ultimately – are?

Here is the whole article:…/four-steps-raise-your-def…

POP UP Adventure Playground with BIG on Bloor Festival! Sat Aug 22 (1p.m.-9p.m.) and Sun Aug 23 (12p.m.-6p.m.)

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 10.37.14 AMWe’re kicking things into high gear this weekend with 3 POP UP Adventure Playgrounds in a ROW!

Join us this weekend, Saturday August 22 from 1p.m. – 9p.m. and Sunday August 23 from 12p.m. – 6p.m., for this BIG on Bloor Festival! From Dufferin to Landsdowne Bloor Street will be entirely car-free! (Don’t forget we’ll also be at 40 Teesdale Place for their Back to School Bash on Friday Aug 21 4p.m. – 8p.m.!)

BIG on Bloor was listed as one of the top Toronto Festivals! We’re excited about being a part of it! You can check out more about the festival here…

POP UP Adventure Playground at Teesdale’s Back To School Bash, Aug 21

20140614_133346We are teaming up with the community at 40 Teesdale Place for their annual Back To School Bash from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Friday, August 21! We are so excited about this event and are hoping for some really fun mud and water play… and definitely some other amazing and imaginative creations! Perhaps pack a change of clothes for your child(ren). Can’t wait to ring in the school year with some great outdoor time for free play!

POP UP Adventure Playground, Tues August 11!

Summer Splash FINAL poster 2015

We’re back from a little bit of quiet time and so excited about our next POP UP! Join us and Access Alliance at the beautiful Taylor Creek Park on Tuesday August 11th from 3pm-6pm!

Taylor Creek Park is located at Dawes Road and Crescent Place. Bring close toed shoes and a sweater as there is lots of green space to explore! Your children and their friends are all welcome for some time for free, outdoor, active play before school starts back up!POP UP Pendrith: Tire Swing



Research for Play

An urban day at the beach, or a money drain?IMG_0746[1]
An interactive splash park, or an eye-sore?

PLAYbynature is currently conducting research into our parks’ water features and we’d love to get your thoughts. We’d like to know why communities value their wading pools, how much time is spent at splash-pads, as well as other factors which might play into public decision-making for our water features.

You can help by filling out our 5 minute questionnaire or by e-mailing us with your input and questions at

Enjoy the weather and water play (while it lasts!)

Fun in the Sun at Junction and Campbell Park Pop-Ups!

It was hot under the sun this week-end, but fortunately the ice cream and patches of shade at the Junction Summer Solstice Festival and Councillor Ana Bailao’s Community BBQ at Campbell Park offered some respite.

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Dress-ups and a Teeter-Totter on Medland St. at the Junction Festival


Pop-Up and Permanent playgrounds at the Campbell Park BBQ

We were happy to see so much participation and support at both events and are looking forward to Wednesday’s Pop-Up at Fairmount Park!

POP UP Adventure Play at Fairmount Park Farmers Market, Wednesday July 1

Come celebrate Canada Day with us at the Fairmount Park Farm Market! Enjoy some delicious farm fresh foods, music, and POP UP Adventure Play! There’s sure to be something for everyone at this event and we can’t wait to see you all there!

We’ll be there from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.! The event is rain or shine- so bring a raincoat, or some dry clothes and a sweater for kids to change into after playing.

Here’s a picture of us having a great time at the Fairmount Farmers Market from last year!

You can see our entire album of pictures from last years event here:

Check out the rest of the offerings and location for the Fairmount Farmers Market here:


POP UP Adventure Play at the Junction Summer Solstice Festival, Saturday June 20


Join us and our friends at the Junction Summer Solstice Festival this Saturday for some POP UP Adventure Play! You can find us (and all of our supplies- dress up, duct tape, giant tubes, cardboard, wheels, and more!) from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. at the corner of Dundas St W and Medland St! There’s going to be lots of great stuff going on so be sure to come by and help us celebrate the solstice that marks the onset of summer!


Check it out here, too-

Junction Solstice Poster

Rainy day PLAY at Laughlin Park POP UP


We were pretty optimistic and we weren’t going to let a bit of spitting rain chase us away


… oh no, don’t go!  We have some fun planned….









….but then came the downpour!


While we had some fun dancing in the rain, we ended up having to pack up early!




Don’t worry though- we’ll be sure to keep you posted about our next POP UP!  And in the meantime- don’t forget to check out and like our Facebook page for exciting news!