Where to Find Toronto Area Natural Parks and Make the Outdoors Your Active Classroom for Discovery

I am a nature nerd. I came across this post on The Weather Network and wanted to share it. 

We need fresh air people. Get your kids outside for active learning. This is your outdoor classroom.

The lack of nature in today’s wired generation, or Nature Deficient Disorder as coined by American author Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods, has prompted parents and school and park administrators to find ways to encourage kids to reconnect to their environment. So if you’re looking to up your dose of nature, let imaginations (and little legs) run wild in these green spaces.

City parks – Bienenstock Playgrounds, a leader in playground design and construction, helped the City of Toronto re-imagine McClearly Playground. In 2009 they unveiled the city’s first “natural playground.” This east end park incorporates climbing boulders, a slide built into a hill and logs from a fallen elm tree.

Last year Waterfront Toronto turned a former industrial site into Corktown Common, an 18-acre city-run park in the West Don Lands area. Much of its playground and splash pad have been built into the landscape and the space is home to hundreds of trees, thousands of shrubs and plants, and a large marsh where nature-lovers can spot frogs and ducks.

Outdoor classrooms: Schools have also gone greening their outdoor play spaces. Last year, playground design company Earthscape added natural elements at L’école élémentaire La Mosaïque, including a log jam where the school’s children (and the neighbourhood after hours) can balance, climb and hang out.

In the west end, Bienenstock Playgrounds gave students at Kingsway College School in Etobicoke a new place to play. It features a log tunnel, obstacle course and fort, plus sand and water pump.

Children’s Garden: This outdoor space at the Evergreen Brick Works is not your typical playground. Its main elements - rocks, logs, dirt, plants and trees – encourage open-ended play. Children develop an appreciation for the environment as they explore the space, water plants, make mud and build forts.

Pop-up playgrounds: PLAYbynature’s pop-up adventure playgrounds are putting self-directed outdoor play back into the lives of children. Partnering with community events in green spaces across the city, they provide the “stuff” - wood pieces, tools, rope, tires and cardboard - and simply let imagination dictate playtime.

Dirt: Torontonians of all ages come to hang out and play at Trinity Bellwoods Park in the city’s west end. Kids looking to reconnect to the Earth should head north of the conventional playground to the big dirt hill. When city programs are not in session, the mound of sand and mud (depending on the weather) is a hot spot for nature-lovers to climb, dig and just get dirty.

Love the ravines: Toronto has a big playground in its own backyard. The Humber and Don River Valleys are a quick escape into nature. Check out all you can do when you love the ravines:

(Image source)


Source:  The Weather Network  



  1. If you want your little one to get more in touch with nature join us on their PA DAYs to get out of the classroom and into to the valley! http://www.evergreen.ca/en/whats-on/event-details/10731/


Thank you for sharing your feedback!

Ask about our School & Parent Workshops