Play is simple and complex. An especially important vehicle for optimal childhood development and learning, play is so essential that the United Nations has described it as a basic human right. Play is learning. It benefits our cognitive-intellectual, social, emotional and physical health and well being. Researchers are learning how play out-of-doors, Nature Play, provides important ecologically appropriate stimulation, supports all learning modes, and facilitates a delight in the natural world. We encourage you to get outside and play outside!
Gaffield Children’s Garden is a sensory-rich, immersive, nature-play environment. We know open-ended nature-play is inscribed in children’s hearts and souls, in their memory and imagination, to be recalled many times later in their lives and transformed into creative impulse, scientific exploration, the ability to think broadly and widely, and to carry a desire to help humankind and the future of our earth.
If you are a parent, teacher, or caregiver looking for more Nature Play resources, locally and nationally, please check out the follow links.
American Academy of Pediatrics position paper on Play
Tinkergarten local and national resources
Washtenaw Rec & Parks
Leslie Science Center
Article w/tips for teachers & parents
Children & Nature Network
Children and Nature Network, especially for families
Natural Learning Initiative/National Wildlife Federation
Natural Start Alliance
Children at Play Network
Alliance for Early Childhood
Greenhearts Initiative for Nature in Childhood
Neighbourhood Play Project
National Association for the Education of Young Children