It can be so easy to gravitate to bright plastics and tech-type toys when considering play spaces in the home or at school. These products are readily available and marketed heavily in shops and school resource catalogues. That’s why you can end up buying them. They are convenient and easy. However, thinking outside the box to create nature based play spaces in children’s environments is so important. Once you offer this type of space you’ll see the benefits immediately and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!
What exactly is a nature based play space?
A nature based play space is any play space that includes natural elements within the space. Natural elements can include:
• rocks, boulders
• sand, bark or pebbles
• logs, wooden planks
• plants, vegetable gardens, beds for planting
• water, mud, leaves, grass, twigs
• recycled materials such as barrels
Are the benefits that great?
In comparison to a synthetic play space, the answer is yes. A literature summary written by Dr Lisa Wood and Dr Karen Martin from The University of Western Australia, states that nature based play has been shown to improve the amount of active play by children. This can assist in combating obesity and promotes resilience, creativity and emotional wellbeing.
How do you feel when you get outdoors and reconnect with nature?
Do you feel relaxed when you leave your phone in the house and get outside in the garden?
Most people feel relaxed and at ease when they are doing these things and children feel the same way! It’s a stress reliever for adults and children alike.
How can you incorporate a nature based play space in your school or home?
Nature play spaces can be as simple or as intricate as you choose, depending on the space and budget you are working with. The first step is to look at your space and dream big. Sketch ideas, shop around and imagine what the space could look like. It doesn’t all need to happen at once. You may slowly renovate a space by trading one synthetic toy for one natural at a time!
When you incorporate a nature play area, factoring in accessibility in a school is important. Ensure that the play area can be easily accessed by the age group it is aimed for and ramps are available.
In your home, keep things changeable. Permanent structures can be grown out of quickly and you may find it a costly experience to keep up with your child’s development and change equipment to keep them challenged and interested. By keeping things interchangeable you will be able to give them the creativity to create what they like at their development level. You’ll also save money by having products that inspire rather than restrict imagination.
JourneyTree is a great way to establish comprehensive, regular communication between educators and families. It also provides you with the perfect way to capture the best memories of your child in the great outdoors. Contact us today to find out more!