Evidence is accumulating about the benefits of play in a natural environment – as well as about the effects of being deprived of natural play opportunities.
“Children are losing their connection with the natural environment and their wellbeing and environmental quality are inextricably linked. The worse a local environment looks, the less able children are to play
freely” Thomas and Thompson, A Child’s Place Demos
Dr Marcus Roberts, Policy manager at the mental health charity MIND, says “Being outdoors and being active is proven to benefit mental health”
Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are growing problems for children and their parents and carers. “The ‘greener’ a child’s play area, the less severe his or her AD symptoms”, say Taylor, Kuo & Sullivan from the Human Environment Research Lab – University of Illinois.
“Evidence shows that contact with the outdoors, and especially with the natural environment, is important for children, particularly in the middle years of childhood. The benefits of building a relationship with nature
include a sense of identity, of being in the natural world, and experiencing the restorative effects of special places, which are often secret”. Se by Stuart Lester and Martin Maudsley of Playwork Partnerships
The research keep accumulating about the importance of engaging in nature for all people. The playground manufacturers have been listening and many of them now have new product lines that help bring nature to the playground. There also people who specialize in the design on natural playgrounds, who are now selling specific playground pieces. Through June, on Equipment Monday, we will be introducing you to many of these new pieces of equipment.
Look for the following and more over the next month and a half: