A world first review of the importance of nature play could transform children's play spaces, supporting investment in city and urban parks, while also delivering important opportunities for children's physical, social and emotional development.
Conducted by the University of South Australia the systematic review explored the impacts of nature play on the health and development of children aged 2-12 years, finding that nature play improved children's complex thinking skills, social skills and creativity.
Led by UniSA masters student Kylie Dankiw and researcher Associate Professor Katherine Baldock, this study is the first to provide evidence that supports the development of innovative nature play spaces in childcare centers and schools.
In recent years, nature play has become more popular with schools and childcare centres, with many of them re-developing play spaces to incorporate natural elements, such as trees, plants and rocks. But as they transition from the traditional 'plastic fantastic' playgrounds to novel nature-based play spaces, they're also looking for empirical evidence that supports their investments.
Our research is the first to rigorously, transparently and systematically review the body of work on nature play and show the impact it has on children's development. We're pleased to say that the findings indicate a positive connection between nature play and children's development.
For early childhood educators, health practitioners, policymakers and play space designers, this is valuable information that may influence urban play environments and re-green city scapes." Kylie Dankiw, UniSA masters student Related Stories
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