HOUSTON, Minnesota (WXOW) - An innovative playground is coming to Houston's Trailhead park.
Houston area kids used their own shovels and trucks to break ground for the new natural playground in Houston, Minnesota's Trailhead Park. Unlike traditional play structures, natural playgrounds use boulders, tree stumps and landscaping to nurture children's imagination.
"A natural playground is more about creative play," said Karla Bloem, Houston Nature Center Director and Naturalist. "It's not just sit on a swing and go back and forth. Or go around in a circle. It's "okay, I slid down the slide. Now, do I want to climb up the boulder climbing wall, do I want to go up the 2 foot boulder retainers, do I want to go up the stairs, do I want to go up the wooden climbing wall?" They've got choices. So it's using their mind more."
The Bloem said that natural playgrounds are generally less expensive than traditional playgrounds and encourage kids to be active.
"Kid's enjoyment," said Bloem. "That's a huge one. They like them better so they're going to use them more. Which is going to get them more physically active."
"It's a lot funner than school playgrounds," said Cullan Olson, a Houston 7th grader. "‘Cause you get bored over the same exact things everyday. And like, instead of going down a plain old slide and going down a fireman's pole, you get to go do a lot more fun stuff."
And natural playgrounds offer one key thing that most conventional play structures cannot...
"This isn't just for kids," said Bloem. "Adults can play with their kids here. We had one of the parents specifically at the program say, "one of the things I don't like about a traditional playground," I mean, he's well over six feet tall. He said, "I can't play with my kids." He said, "I can play with my kids on this playground."
In our region, this type of playground is rare, and will bring an innovative experience for families in Houston.
"They're really catching on because people area realizing just how good they are," said Bloem. "And how much kids really like them."
"I'm excited about everything," Said Olson. "So I really want to try it out too. It sounds really, really fun."
The playground should be completed by next summer and be "play-able" by next spring.
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