Category Archives: Dempsey Corner Orchard


Our youngest, Lila-Jeanne – PlayGroundology started just after she was born

Our three youngest kids are a never ending source of inspiration. Their ability to play with no goal in mind, to get lost in changing beats and laughter’s rolling sound really highlights the vitality of independent play, the richness of embracing its giddy reel.

Over the course of PlayGroundology’s nearly ten years, I have frequently fantasized about being an embedded photographer/videographer for a few days with the neighbourhood gang. Although I have thousands of photos and hundreds of minutes of video of kids at play, none truly capture the child perspective of their universe.

With PlayGroundology poised to celebrate its tenth anniversary in a couple of weeks, I wanted to say thanks to my kids for showing me what it’s all about day in, day out. They play with abandon, with joy, intensity, exuberance and the unspoken belief that the parade of discovery, adventure and fun will never end.

I hope you will enjoy these unedited, kid-led parade moments that they have so generously shared.


That’s our little guy in the yellow and blue tie-die shirt paddling around Salamander Playground in Montreal, Canada nearly ten years ago – more here.


One of our girls centrifugaling around on one of the last roundabouts in Nova Scotia at Dempsey Corner Orchard – more here.


Up and down the hill with whirling paper streaming in the sky.


One small step up. One huge leap for risk assessment…


Tagging along for adventure.


Seasonal shennaingans


Creative destruction…


Play training.


Our nature getaway – Kejimkujik National Park.


More play moments coming soon….



Retro Play on the Farm

Dempsey Corner Orchard in Nova Scotia’s apple belt is a gem of a place. In the gentle rolling hills of the Annapolis Valley’s North Mountain an old playground standard and some do-it-yourself offerings take pride of place in the working farmyard.

Far from the unforgiving eyes of municipal insurers, from the exacting measurements and impact calculations of playground inspectors, this is a place where kids can still have some exhilarating, retro fun.


There’s some no holds barred spinning on one of the few remaining roundabouts in a radius of hundreds of miles. Once a playground stalwart, the roundabout is now a very rare sighting in our small corner of the world, definitely on the endangered list and not likely to be making a comeback.


It’s like a magnet for kids who are pulled to it immediately on arrival. Most of them would have never have experienced the delicious centrifugal force of a whirling roundabout. Apparently the sheep even like to get a spin in now and again too.

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I finally get up my courage and hop on board. Just a short ride brings back fine memories – happy, smiley faces all around.

Add a circle of tires sand pit and there’s no end to digging and jumping fun.


Sailing through the air with the greatest of ease.


And crossing chasms with bold steps.


Just as we are packing up, we discover some antique transportation à la Flintstones. There’s a snappy bespoke convertible…


…and a pick up ready to haul wood, apples, corn.


I’m interested in hearing from readers who know of simple yet magical, tucked away places like this that they’d like to share.

Do you remember when?

This was our second trip to Dempsey Corner Orchard. I wrote about the first trip in Harvest Playground three years ago. How quickly the kids are growing…