The benefits to children of free play and daily exposure to nature have been researched and reported in nearly every media outlet in the past recent years. The cry to overcome “nature deficit disorder” coined by Richard Louv in his seminal book Last Child in the Woods, has sparked calls for a “Last Child on the Couch” campaign. Playground planners have an opportunity to create play spaces that encourage children and families to get outdoors, interact with their environment, learn about their natural surroundings, and encourage the reconnection between children and nature.
This education session explores the range of natural play environments from wild spaces to more planned, natural play and outdoor learning environments. We will identify the unique characteristics of each including programming options to maximize user participation and education, and lastly, how and when safety and accessibility standards apply.
Landscape Structures is authorized by IACET to offer .20 CEUs for this session and 1.5 CEUs/Professional Development Units by LA CES. Upon completion of the session, participants will possess the ability to:
- Explain why play in nature is valuable for healthy child development
- Identify the characteristics of natural play environments from wild spaces to school yards and public parks
- Identify design considerations and best practice programming to maximize participation and learning
- Understand what safety and accessibility standards apply to different natural play environments
Contact your Landscape Structures playground consultant to find out how to bring the Designing Natural Play Environments Learning Academy session to your community or organization.