It is easy to speak from the heart and answer the question, “ Why Nature Play?” It is our belief that nature play has a fundamental positive impact on children. It can change the lives of children in such a profound manner that it should not be underestimated. Playing in nature promotes child directed play that is imaginative, constructive, sensory rich and cooperative. It is play with relationships, a direct experience with nature that builds a sense of grounding and connection. The world is an expression of interaction, nature play + kids = whole child learning.
There is a large and growing body of research literature stating this fact: nature play works. It creates a space for children to develop their physical, social and emotional sides, therefore developing into strong, engaged learners.
Here are the top 11 reasons based on research why every child should have access to nature play every day:
- Nature play offers a variety of options that appeal to a wide range of play interests including: dramatic play, exploratory play, solitary play, constructive play and locomotor play.
2. Physically, children develop body awareness, a sense of balance and coordination in natural settings.
3. In nature, children have the opportunity to take risks which can increase their ability to assess and manage risk.
4. A sense of calm and physical regulation can be achieved in nature reducing stress and anger in children.
5. Children in nature develop crucial social skills such as cooperation, problem solving and enthusiasm to learn.
6. Nature play is open ended, so children can cultivate creativity and imagination.
7. A strong connection to the earth can develop which provides a sense of place and belonging.
8. Nature is sensory rich and ever changing allowing children to engage and explore which sustains their interest.
9. Natural setting aid in the recovery of directed attention and ability to focus.
10. Nature play accommodates different ages and abilities
11. Positive interactions with and in nature are integral to the health and whole-child development of young children
We invite you to learn more. Here is a short list of helpful resources.
Duluth Nature Play Collaborative
Last Child in the Woods By Richard Louv