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Langley Adventure Playground

The Langley Adventure Playground is a pilot project that promotes unstructured play in nature. Children ages 5-11 are welcome to explore, build, and learn how to engage in adventurous play at Portage Park. This is an unsupervised park, and although there are 2 park attendants present at all times parents and caregivers are asked to stay in the area to support their children when needed. It is encouraged for parents and caregivers to stay outside the fence but are welcomed to come inside if necessary. 

This park is brought to Langley in partnership with the Langley Children's Committee and the Langley School District Foundation. Fraser Health was also consulted in the planning and evaluation of this project. The City of Langley will be facilitating and operating the Adventure Playground at Portage Park starting on Monday July 8 and continue to operate until Friday, August 23, 2024. 

Adventurous play – unstructured play that involves some risk – is essential to every child’s well-being. It helps children learn, develop and grow their understanding of their own abilities. 


What is Unstructured Play?
  • Unstructured play allows children to follow their instincts, ideas, and interests without an expected outcome. 
    • Examples of unstructured play: playing on a playground, dress up/make-believe, exploring outdoors.
    • Examples of structured play: puzzles, board games, organized sports.
  • This type of play provides a space for children to choose and create their own playful activities, and make independent decisions. 
  • Unstructured play may help children build skills such as planning, troubleshooting, negotiating, and multi-tasking. Having time where children can explore their creativity allows them to practice problem-solving. 
  • Unstructured play is well-suited to taking place outdoors: Time in nature also limits screen time and provides children an opportunity to explore their surroundings. Time in natural spaces also has been shown to improve mood, focus and reduce anxiety.
Definitions of Adventurous Play
  • Adventurous/risky play: thrilling and exciting forms of physical play that involve uncertainty. 
  • Unstructured play: play that is not guided, kids are able to engage in imaginative play. 
  • Structured play: guided play, kids are 
  • Outdoor play: playing outdoors, can be structured or unstructured.
  • Play in Nature: playing in natural spaces (i.e. forest, park), can be structured or unstructured.

We all know this scenario: when a young child falls down and scrapes his knee, he will look for the reaction of his parent (or supervising adult) and match their reaction. If the adult doesn’t overreact neither will the child. Most likely he will get up, brush himself off and charge on, having learned a little bit more how to avoid that bump in the road or negotiate that tree root the next time. Being exposed to adventurous play trains the child’s ability to make sound judgement and develops physical literacy.

Health Benefits of Adventurous Play

“The playing child advances forward to new stages of mastery.” - Erik H. Erikson

  • Adventurous play is sometimes called risky play. It is defined as thrilling and challenging forms of play that involve a risk of physical injury. Each time a child has a minor accident, learning and adaptation happen. The benefits of adventurous play are numerous. Challenging play:
  • Promotes independence and problem-solving
  • Provides direct experience of cause and effect (natural consequences)
  • Develops coordination and bodily control
  • Boosts self-confidence and emotional resilience
  • Promotes self-regulation
  • Reduces stress and fears
  • Satisfies natural need for challenge and thrill
What does the Langley Adventure Playground Contain?
  • Loose pieces of wood
  • Pallets and plywood
  • Tires 
  • Hammers
  • Nails
  • Hand saw (for children who are tall enough to safely operate the saw; only to be used with assistance from a park attendant)
  • Buckets
  • Tarps
  • Milk Crates
  • Paint and markers
  • Shovels and gardening tools
  • Pots and pans
  • Other novelties 
Rules of Play
  • Closed toe shoes must be worn inside the play area. 
  • Parents are encouraged to let their children explore alone, however, they must stay in close proximity to supervise their children. This is not a supervised playground.
  • 2 recreation worker will be on site at all times to assist children with certain tools and prevent serious injury.
  • Children must be of a certain height to use the hand saw with the assistance of a park attendant. 
  • Building heights cannot exceed 4 ft. Heights will be marked for reference. 
  • The play area is canopied by three large trees, however, if the weather is too hot we encourage parents and caregivers to stay somewhere cool and shaded. The City of Langley will close the park during extreme heat warnings. 
Dates and Hours of Operation

Opening: July 8, 2024
Closing: Aug 23, 2024

Monday to Friday 11:00am-3:00pm