Take a break from the slide, monkey bars and teeter totter routine. These unstructured playgrounds bring play to a whole other level with zip lines, rope swings and giant logs to climb. Kids will use their creativity as well as their muscles to explore and build new worlds. Flip through the pics to find one near you!

The Grove – Rockford, Il

This nature exploration area adjacent to the Severson Dells Nature Center includes seven sections, each with a different way to explore. Kids learn to work together on projects like building a fort out of fallen branches. Climb on the giant rope spider web or make music with the wooden drums. See how many wooden blocks you can stack on top of each other. The possibilities are endless!

Good to know: The nature center offers programs throughout the year for children and adults. The Science Saturday programs are particularly popular with families.

Online: seversondells.com

photo: The Grove


Know of an unstructured playground near you? Give it a shout-out in the comments below!

— Kate Loweth & Gabby Cullen