Thursday 13 July 2017

A perfect winters day for a playground adventure!

If you have been following my blog, then you've probably gathered or heard by now that Tuesday is my day off of paid work. A typical Tuesday for me usually consists with running the little superheroes to and from school, therapy sessions and specialist or funding appointments. Tuesday is normally a very busy day with barely enough time to stop!

Well not the Tuesday just gone.

For a change there weren't any appointments or therapy sessions to attend and as it was still the school holidays, I wanted to do something fun with my little superheroes.

When we woke, it was the perfect winters day for a playground adventure - rain was forecast for the afternoon but the sun was shining, the wind was low and what is a little rain between friends anyway! When I mentioned to the little superheroes what I had in mind, they both leapt into action. I haven't seen them get ready that fast in a long time!

First up was a new playground, well new for us anyway, called Livvi's Place Playground in Whiteman Edge. It was established last year as a joint initiative between Stockland and the Touched by Olivia Foundation. The play area was designed as an all abilities play space with features especially designed for those children with special needs, in particular Autism Spectrum Disorder, physical, visual, hearing and mobility impairments. Although obviously it is open to any families wanting to enjoy the space. I'd been wanting to visit the play space for some time with my little superheroes and we'd just never got around to going.

When we first moved to Perth in 2010, I made a conscious effort to take O to a different playground in the Perth area each week. There are literally hundreds of play areas to visit, some small and some very large, but all are great fun. We've yet to find a playground that isn't fun. We've had many a playground adventure!

I'm a big believer in letting children play outside, either in the backyard or in a playground. There are so many benefits that can be gained from just playing.

Play really is a fundamental part of childhood and if you have ever read the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, you will know that it states that "it is a child's right to enjoy play and leisure!"

Aside from having fun, children learn so much through the simple act of play!

There's the hand-eye coordination, hand-foot coordination, the development of fine motor and gross motor skills. Children learn to problem solve and take calculated risks.

Then there is the social aspect of play - children learn the art of playing and socialising with other children, they can practise turn taking and sharing. This in turn assists in the development of their communication skills!

Mmm, play is beginning to sound like a therapy session, isn't it!

Without realising, both my little superheroes were participating in a spur of the moment unofficial therapy session. And they both had a ball! 

There was lots of climbing, spinning, sand play and sliding. Livvi's place really does have it all and the play equipment was accessible for children (and adults) of all ages and skill levels.

There was an abundance of sensory equipment as well which was fantastic to see. L spent a lot of time on the spinning equipment. This kid just does not get dizzy, ever!

The twirly slide was also very popular. Both O and L went DOWN and UP the slide numerous times! There was lots of "yee haaing" and "woo-hooing" to be heard!

After roughly an hour of play, they both tired of the area and wanted to go somewhere else. So it was onto one of our favourite play spaces, Woodbridge Riverside Park. Now considering that rain was forecast for the afternoon, I was hoping that the park would be relatively clear of other people. I was completely wrong.

Woodbridge Riverside Park, or the pirate park as my little superheroes know it as, is a fantastic play space. It has a flying fox, a sunken pirate ship, climbing equipment and a lot of natural play areas and it is a very popular play space for families.

Unfortunately for us, there were loads of people enjoying the area and the busyness of the area became too much for both O and L. We weren't there for long before they were both begging to go somewhere else.

While this wasn't a great thing to hear them asking to go somewhere else, it did mean that they were both recognising the signs of anxiety within themselves. This is a good thing!

One of the aspects of this park that I just love, apart from the fact that it has an on-site coffee shop, is that scattered throughout the park are keyword signs. It really is an inclusive play area. We are already familiar with these signs as we regularly use them with L when he struggles to verbally communicate with us. L's face really does light up when he sees the signs that he recognises and can use.

Before we left the Pirate Park, O and L were fortunate to spot and collect a painted rock. Throughout the month of April we participated in the #autismrocks project. The idea behind the project was that people would decorate small rocks with autism awareness messages and they would then leave these decorated rocks in public places for people to find.

The #autismrocks project was based on a similar idea, I just can not recall where the idea originated. Well since then, the idea of leaving painted rocks in public spaces has really taken off and it is now popping up all over the world. Here in Western Australia there are a huge number of people who participate and while we have left a lot of decorated rocks in play areas, we had yet to find a rock.

You should have seen my little superheroes faces when they realised what they had found. L guarded the rock with his life and I am sorry to say that their first rock is probably never going to be re-hidden! The idea is that when you find a decorated rock, you re-hide it for others to find. Not this little gem though! L has not let it out of his sight!

After finding their very first rock, both O and L were keen to find some more rocks, but at a different park!

So off we went -  a dual adventure, playground and rock hunting!

We located a new park that was completely devoid of other people, albeit it was a little wet at that stage. O and L had so much fun, there was lots of squeals of joy as they found rock after rock.

They both re-hid several rocks and I currently have two in my car to re-hide at another park at some stage. I had to bribe them back into the car with the promise of buying them lunch, chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers of course!!

O was stoked to find out the next day that some of the rocks had been painted and hidden by one of her school friends!

And that was my Tuesday, so much more fun than sitting in a car or at specialist and funding appointments. Although I'm not sure what is more tiring, a typical Tuesday or running around like a head less chook on a playground (and rock hunting) adventure.

I know which one I'd prefer to do on a regular basis! Bring on the next school holidays!


  1. I too let my child play in the play ground. It is so good for kids.

  2. Woohoo.. that was a super fun Tuesday for you & kids for sure! Its great to be spending a fun time with kids!

  3. i'm scared to start looking for the decorated rocks, because my son probably won't rehide them either!

  4. So cute! I love to see children have a fun-filled day.

  5. what a lovely place for kids! I can;t wait to take my son to such a fun park

  6. Awesome insights. I rrally like the UN reference. Im nicking that for sure. Because you are do right. Play is vital for their development.
    Too bad some people font realize it and force classrooms and academics too early.

  7. I love this! I really love all of these inclusive playgrounds popping up around the world. My I'm-laws live near Savannahs Playground in Myrtle Beach, SC, and it is AMAZING.
    PS - Great costumes!

  8. Really happy that your kids got to have a fun day out at the park. Oh and Im loving the keyword signs planted around, think its really useful for more kids to learn sign language.

  9. I agree with you! Kids need to play outside and just get to be kids. Looks like you all had a great day!

  10. This post is absolute beauty :) Loved the adventurous photos !!

  11. I always insist on free, outdoor play for my child..its the best way they learn to explore and be independent.

  12. I am always exhausted when I play with my nephew and niece because they are so energetic and active, but at the end of the day I feel so fulfilled.


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