During the pandemic, the youngest of children have been prevented from exploring much of the outdoors. Due to lockdown restrictions, most may have only ventured out a handful of times due to health and safety concerns and it’s understandable. But as the pandemic wanes down, and vaccination becomes more widely available, May is the last month before winter sets in and keeps young children indoors again.
So in this newsletter, we’ll tackle the importance of nature play for young children, its benefits and where young children can go to take advantage of natural playgrounds to their hearts’ content.
What is Nature Play?
Associate Professor Janet Dyment from the School of Education at the University of Tasmania says nature play happens “when children are provided with the opportunity to engage in unstructured play activities in outdoor settings where natural elements feature, such as logs, rocks and water, as opposed to conventional manufactured play equipment.”
Nature play gives young children endless sources for entertainment and fun–whether it’s from scouring puddles or ponds for living creatures or collecting scraps to craft into a new toy or building a fort out of natural spots and crevices.
Through nature play, young children are able to use all of their five senses in learning about their natural environment while also having fun. As they discover a whole new world in the form of the natural environment, its variety and expanse triggers their curiosity. And in this new playground, a day is too short for a young child to run out of ideas and spaces to play and investigate with.
The Benefits of Nature Play
Nature play isn’t just a source of fun for children. It gives a great boost to both their physical and mental development as well.