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New upgrades to playgrounds in Belleville

By Selena Steele-Clough [1] and Trish Bauder  [2]

BELLEVILLE – Children in Belleville and area have received new outdoor play equipment thanks to the Healthy Kids Community Challenge of Hastings and Prince Edward [5].

Equipment for 18 child-care centres was purchased with money from the Healthy Kids program.

The purchase was made as part of a project under the theme “Run. Jump. Play. Every Day.”

All equipment was purchased from Nature’s Instruments [6], a retail store that carries natural playground components like outdoor musical instruments, hill slides and logs.

One company that makes the equipment sold by Nature’s Instruments is Natural Playgrounds [7] of Dundas, Ont.  Its website says that the company “creates play areas that connect kids to nature and inspire child development for as many communities as possible.”

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Some of the nature-inspired components at the YMCA’s child-care centre playground. Photo by Selena Steele-Clough, QNet News

Natural Playgrounds’ founder and designer, Adam Bienenstock, told QNet News: “We do millions of dollars worth of this type of work. Some of this is charitable and some of it is not.”

His team is dedicated to helping connect kids to nature, he said.

Emma Pillsworth, project manager for the Healthy Kids Community Challenge locally, said: “When kids are outside, they tend to engage in more physical activities and play longer.”

The playground equipment was placed in centres all over Hastings and Prince Edward counties. In Belleville, it was the YMCA [8], Kinder Learning Centre [9] and the New Old School House [10].

Kerry Vadneau, the manager of youth services at the YMCA, said the Y was excited to find out about the new equipment.

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The YMCA received logs and stumps for their playground from Nature’s Instruments to help kids be more active. Photo by Selena Steele-Clough, QNet News

“We chose the logs and the stumps because they were very open-ended and it encouraged gross motor play,” which involves movements using large muscles of the body, such as running, jumping and throwing balls.

The equipment so far has had a really good reaction from the kids and the parents, Vadneau said.

Other child-care centres that received equipment were in Picton, Bancroft, Tweed and Stirling.

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