Review by Shea Hatch
This play space has been around for a while, but it just hadn’t clocked on my radar. I don’t know why, it has the two magic ingredients needed to make the perfect baby and toddler play space – good coffee nearby and a fence.
It wasn’t until one of my colleagues (who happens to be a mum of one gorgeous 18 month old) pointed out to me that the Leederville play space had all the ingredients needed for a good baby/toddler nature play space. So we popped over to have a coffee, ahem, a look, and I must agree it is a great space.
Obviously it has location going for it, pretty much any play space in the middle of a café strip is going to be popular with parents of young children. But what I like most about this is that the city had the vision to take away car bays and put in a play space for younger children. We are used to seeing play spaces aimed at children aged five and up, so it is refreshing to see a play scape designed particularly with young ones in mind.
My colleague noted that it is designed so thoughtfully that she feels she can put her daughter down and let her go, no hovering required! The extra wide ramps make pram access super easy, and the children we saw there today were having a ball running up and down them. The decking is at a height that makes it accessible to little ones, there are climbing, hiding and balancing structures and a big sand pit. The site is well shaded and, as mentioned previously, fenced.
Leederville Play Space Gallery
There is also a lot of great infrastructure around the play space which adds to the appeal. The nearby skatepark and basketball hoop means parents with older children can keep the peace. Younger ones are always fascinated by skate parks, so be sure to drop in after a play to watch the older children skating. There is also a handball court and Ping-Pong table ready for some family tournaments.
There are plenty of dining tables and open grass areas around the playground. With all the restaurants in Leederville it is a great space to grab an early dinner and a play before bed time. The site is even lit at night allowing for some extended play in those darker months.
Often play spaces are segregated from community spaces which can lead to antisocial behavior. Placing this space right in the action means it is well supervised and children are welcomed to play as part of the community. The existing trees dotted throughout the park do provide some screening however, so you won’t feel like zoo exhibit while you play! One small warning however, if you are bringing a picnic in summer be sure to bring a hat. We had comments from a few visitors whilst we were there that the only thing the site was missing was some shade over the grass; whilst the tables are in the shade it can be difficult to sit at a table with a toddler in tow!
Leederville is well connected with bike paths and train lines, they have even installed a bike repair post if you happen to need it. Support the cities decision to dump the car bays and pop in on bike or by train for an early dinner and a play this summer.
You can find the Leederville Play Space at the Oxford Street Reserve (100 Oxford Street) in Leederville.
If you need some more advice on how to introduce your baby or toddler to nature play we have some great resources on our website here: http://www.natureplaywa.org.au/early-years-for-parents