Sydney's Best Natural Play Spaces For Kids

By: Hayley Dean, 21 January 2019

Children learn through play. They grow through play and they develop through play. Natural play spaces offer unstructured play for learning amongst a blend of natural areas, environmental features and plants.

When I was a child, my favourite place to play was outside. I loved climbing trees, digging in the dirt, bush walking, exploring, discovering, pretending I was one of the Goonies…..I was a child of dirt and mud. As a parent, I try very hard to instil this love of the great outdoors in my children but as I now live in Sydney’s Inner West, our backyard is somewhat smaller than what I had growing up. Natural Playspaces are of great interest to me and I am not alone in recognising their significance.

NSW Kidsafe says “Play is a vital part of childhood and growing up. Children learn through play to develop social, physical and emotional skills. Providing children with an outdoor learning environment that incorporates areas for quiet, natural, creative, active and stimulating play will allow children to learn whilst using their imagination. By inviting a child to use their initiative and explore possibilities we provide them with the best opportunities to learn”.

Here is a collection of some of the best Natural Material Play spaces for kids in Sydney that we have covered. We would love to grow this list so if you know of any that should be added, please let us know.

The Ian Potter Children's WILD PLAY Garden

The Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden, in the heart of Centennial Park offers city kids and adults alike an opportunity to immerse themselves in an oasis of nature-play and adventure. The garden was designed to cater for children of all ages and abilities and encourage them to run, jump, play, learn and discover the wild side of life. The space provides children with the chance to get lost in the wonder of nature with dry creek beds, an artesian water play area, a bamboo forest, banksia tunnels, turtle mounds and Centennial Park’s first treehouse. Read our review here.

Steel Park, Marrickville

Steel Park Waterplay Park is a water playground with plenty of fun to be had with the water fountains and sprinklers. Encouraging kids to get wet and play, the area is designed to be eco-friendly, using recycled water collected from the roof of a nearby sports centre which is then treated and recycled again. Kids will love wading through a shallow spiral stream, and running through water jets, as each feature is designed to reflect the natural world. Read our review here.

Strathfield Park

An epic park in its own right, Strathfield Park is one of the most popular in Sydney—with heaps of things for kids to do. The park offers many play areas, one of which encourages nature-based play combined with a musical play area. There are wooden teepees to play in, stepping pads and pipes to talk to each other through, plus drums to bang on and a xylophone to play. Read our review here.

Carss Bush Park

Carss Bush Park and playground has it all: a great playground, wide open spaces, awesome facilities, and water to paddle in, making it the perfect spot for some nature-based play. Read our review here.

Jubilee Playground, Glebe

Jubilee Playground, located at the bottom of Glebe Point Road is a popular neighbourhood playground that is surrounded by tonnes of greenery, beautiful views of the water from the park and a playground that boasts a large beehive style treehouse with slide; perfect for outdoor play. 

Lizard Log playground, Western Sydney

Lizard Log playground is a natural wonderland that inspires children to interact with the bushland setting. This sprawling playground blends beautifully with the natural landscape and includes balancing beams and wood-carved animals made using timber salvaged from the area. It has a climbing wall, slide, dual and single flying foxes, a play deck with a water pump and giant swings. A number of loop paths are perfect for scooter and bike riders as well! Read our review here.

Parramatta Park

The super-popular Domain Creek playground at Parramatta Park boasts a bush setting with nature-based play elements and a variety of equipment for the kids to play with. Facilities include spinning chairs, sit on diggers, water pumps, climbing nets and a big birds nest swing. What's not to love! Read our review here.

Hero image: The Planthunter

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