Book Week is always an exciting time of year – a time when we, as adults, remember the joy our favourite childhood books gave us, and when our children surprise us with their choice of costume – Halibut Jackson? Really?
For 2021 the Childrens’ Book Council of Australia have chosen the theme of – Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds – and we’re sure you’ll find some inspiration here for this year’s celebrations.
For the team at Nature Play WA, nature is always an inspiration, so we thought we’d share some awesome children’s books that capture the wonder of the natural world or inspire imaginative and creative play, and a list of wonderful places (both built playspaces and natural spots) to entertain and inspire a love of nature in even the smallest nature player.
If you’d like to know more about any of the places in our list, follow the links to check them out in our free Play in WA app!
Thrills and Spills
The Adventures of Alec the Flying Fox – by Luke Rowland
Do you have a nature player who love some thrills and spills? Have them pretend they can fly “for real life” (thanks, Bluey!) on a huge flying fox, or sail down a super slippery dip at these wonderful play spaces. But, a word of caution – high speed play can be very addictive. Once your nature player feels the wind in their hair on the flying fox and breaking the speed of sound on the slide, you may have a hard time getting them off the equipment when it’s time to go home!
- Bannister Creek Nature Playground – Lynwood
- Mills Park – Gosnells
- Manjimup Heritage Park Adventure Playground
- Braithwaite Park – Mount Hawthorn
Another Way to Climb a Tree – by Liz Garton Scanlon
Many nature players love to climb, and get as high as they can. While many local parks do not have climbable trees, there are some great play spaces with lots of opportunities to get up high above it all! From “birds nests” in the sky, to elevated walkways, through to climbing walls that lead to high platforms, your climber will definitely get to stretch their “limbs” at these play spaces!
- Chevron Parkland, Optus Stadium – Burswood
- Cockburn Central West Playground
- Yokine Play Space
- Osprey Waters Foreshore Playground – Mandurah/Erskine
Pirates and Shipwrecks
Tough Boris – by Mem Fox
Y’arr, where are our scurvy seadogs? Who doesn’t love a bit of adventurous play, aboard a pirate ship upon the high seas? These play spaces have created three very different tall ship play experiences, from way-up-high crows nests, to rope “rigging” to climb, to hidden away galleys and brigs, giving little land lubbers the chance to find their sea legs. Time to set sail!
Castles and Forts
The Fort – by Laura Perdew
Whether you’re playing Kings and Queens of the Castle, knights vs dragons, or invading Barbarian or Viking hordes, playing forts and castles offers limitless opportunities for imaginative and creative play. These play spaces all have unique and vastly different designs of their castles and forts, so your mini imagineers will never be short of inspiration.
- Subiaco Theatre Gardens
- Lake Claremont Nature Play Space – Claremont
- Dixon Park – Hamilton Hill
- Woodbridge Riverside Park
- Oxford Street Reserve – Leederville
- Variety Place Park – Kings Park, Perth
Adventure – Wild Things!
Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
Do you have a wild one, with energy to burn, who loves to let loose in adventurous play? Space to roam, secrets to discover, and places to play hide and seek are all elements of what makes a play space feel magical. Here are some of our favourite play spaces to let the wild ones loose.
- Whiteman Edge “Jungle” Park
- Bibra Lake Regional Playground
- Kwinana Adventure Park – Calista
- Rio Tinto Naturescape (Stage 2) – Kings Park, Perth
Beach Babies and Water Play
Magic Beach – Alison Lester
There’s something quite magical about playing with, or being close to, water. Whether it’s the sounds of rhythmic the ocean waves or the bubbling of a nearby brook into the play space, or the satisfaction of cranking a lever or winding a wheel to get the water flowing in a water play space, children love to be in and around water. Bring a change of clothes (or several changes!) to these wet and wonderful spots. We recommend a change of clothes for grown ups too!
Water Play Spaces
- Jo Wheatley All Abilities Play Space – Dalkeith
- Dianella Regional Playground
- Russell Brown Adventure Park – Mosman Park
Weird and Wonderful
Oh The Places You’ll Go – Dr Seuss
Want something a little left of centre? A little kooky and surprising? Find Dr Seuss-inspired spaces, visit the pre-historic era to play with dinosaurs, and discover re-purposed farm machinery and vehicles for some weird and wonderful fun.
- Kadidjiny Park – Melville
- Kingsway Regional “Dinosaur” Park – Madeley
- Crooked Carrot Play Space – Myalup