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Apples and Pears Adventure Playground

July 4, 2012

This afternoon I had the fabulous good fortune to visit Apples and Pears Adventure Playground on Pearson Street in Hackney.  It was a very interesting place, essentially a grassy lot behind a high wooden fence, across the street from some housing blocks and what appeared to be a school.  I had the pleasure of meeting Amanda, one of the playworkers at the playground, who was very willing to chat about the children who use the playground, how she views her role as a playworker, the different types of play that the children engage in at the playground, and a bit about how some of the amazing structures and swings were built.  I have decided to write a bit under some of the  photos, as I think that will be a useful way to describe what is being shown.  As you will notice, there are no photographs of any children using the playground.  While there were probably twenty children playing on the playground while I was there, Amanda requested that I not photograph the children, and I respected her wishes, as I had no parental permissions.  I was pleasantly surprised to see so much grass on this playground, and no artificial safety surfacing anywhere in sight.  Lovely.  Enjoy!  I certainly did.

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The first thing that caught my eye when I walked through the gate, above, was this massive tower for a zip line, below.  This tower was huge!  It must have be at least twenty or twenty-five feet high.

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Here is a view from the top of the zip line tower, below.

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Towards the end of the zip line course was this platform/ stage construction up on a rise, below.

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Here is another view that shows how the structure has the appearance of a stage, below.

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Here is a view of the playground from the stage, below.

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In the upper righthand corner of the above photo you can see the red ‘shed’, which is an indoor space for the children, with a table tennis game, a table where several boys were building with LEGOS, a few comfortable chairs, and the dress-up clothes and costumes you can see below, which the children are free to take outside to the playground and play with as they feel like.

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Here is another view of the ‘shed’, with an interesting swing in the foreground, below.

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Against the back fence of the playground were three of these little huts/ dens, nestled in amongst the trees.  According to Amanda, the children love to take pieces of fabric and other loose parts into these dens to create their own spaces, clubhouses, rooms, as they see fit.  Amanda told me about one boy who would always spend the afternoon in one of these dens, because, she said, at home he had to share a bedroom with three brothers, and this den afforded him a rare chance for privacy and peace and quiet.

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In the center of the playground was a swingset, below.

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There was a gigantic wooden timber climbing structure in the back corner of the playground.

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I decided to explore the climbing structure, so I began by climbing up this wooden ladder, below.

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Then it was across an extremely wobbly bridge, almost lost my footing, and up a short ramp, below.

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I could have been done with it and gone down this slide, below.

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But I kept on and instead climbed up inside this big plastic tunnel, below.

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Here’s another view that shows the slide, the plastic tunnel, the rope netting and the blue swinging rings underneath the structure, below.

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There is a small covered area outside for the children to use in various ways.  Amanda mentioned that sometimes they work at arts and crafts on the tables, below.

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Here a few final photos to try and give a sense of the larger space of the playground, below.

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In this photo, on the right side, you can glimpse a corner of the small basketball court that is on the playground, below.  It had been decorated for the Queen’s Jubilee, Amanda was taking down the decorations when I arrived.

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There’s more to come tomorrow, so stay tuned… 🙂

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One Comment
  1. love those wooden dens!

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