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Dalhousie researchers launch ‘unconventional’ pop-up playground for kids to embrace risk-taking

WATCH: Researchers from Dalhousie University are teaching kids and their parents the importance of taking risks through unstructured play.

A group of Halifax researchers are helping kids set their imaginations free by equipping a playground in Halifax South Commons with some unconventional material.

From castles to forts, tire swings to mazes, there was no shortage of inventiveness on Monday.

Children and families had the chance to play with equipment not normally found on playgrounds as part of a project called ‘Summer of PLEY’ launched by researchers from Dalhousie University’s faculty of health.

READ MORE: Too much screen time can delay important developmental milestones for children, study finds

The aim of the project is to teach kids and their parents the importance of unstructured play, and how taking risks is critical for healthy child development.

“These materials are vary open ended they don’t have a fixed purpose so a box can turn into a fort or it can turn into a tunnel or it can turn into a space ship it can turn into anything that child wants it to be and that’s the best part of this type of play,” said Nila Joshi, a PHD health students and project lead.

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The pop-up playground allows children to experiment, problem solve and explore everyday materials.

READ MORE: Are Canadian kids losing the ability to play? New study suggests a problem

“Having the parents here, having the educators here, they can see the children playing with these objects that they may not normally play with, they can see the children aren’t getting hurt,” said Karina Branje, a student and the project’s play ranger.

“They’re having fun and they’re being creative so it’s good to show them that it’s safe and okay,” she added.

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One of the kids created a box fort.
One of the kids created a box fort. Whitney Oickle/Global News

The kids’ parents say the playground is the best kind of fun.

“This is the good kind of play, unstructured play that’s just you know tip over boxes, build up, rope, throw stuff around let kids you know have a bit of fun,” said Paul Murrin, a parent to one of the kids.

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Some of kids tried to create a tire swing, while others made a fort box using materials donated by local businesses.

The group of researchers hope events like this will pop up more regularly and would like to see the loose parts project expand.

WATCH: (May 14, 2019) New Dalhousie University convocation staff recognizes diverse cultures, ethnic groups

New Dalhousie University convocation staff recognizes diverse cultures, ethnic groups
New Dalhousie University convocation staff recognizes diverse cultures, ethnic groups