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Nature Play

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Abundant Playscapes

Organizations/Sources: Abundant Playscapes Design Firm
This design firm’s website provides examples of nature play spaces that often include accessible features.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1226 times

A Child’s Garden: Enchanting Outdoor Spaces for Children and Parents

1998
This book includes examples and many photographs of children’s gardens designed to stimulate children’s natural inclinations.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1155 times

Alliance for Childhood

Organizations/Sources: Alliance for Childhood
This organization’s website has excellent resources about adventure play, articles on the value of outdoor play and risk in outdoor play.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1164 times

A Sense of Wonder

1965
Authors: Rachel Carson
This book is an early and excellent presentation of the value of childhood bonds with nature.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1062 times

Aspetuck Land Trust

Organizations/Sources: Aspetuck Land Trust
This Land Trust’s website describes a wide variety of nature play offerings and provides links to additional resources.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1204 times

ASTM (formerly American Society for Testing & Materials)

ASTM posts its technical standards for commercial playground equipment on this website.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1428 times

“Be Out There”

Organizations/Sources: National Wildlife Federation
NWF’s “Be Out There” initiative offers valuable ideas, research, and blogs about nature play.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1122 times

Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education

1996
Authors: David Sobel
"Beyond Ecophobia" speaks to teachers, parents, and others interested in nurturing in children the ability to understand and care for nature. This expanded version of one of Orion Magazine's most popular articles includes descriptions of developmentally appropriate environmental education activities and a list of related children's books.
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Last Modified
Jun 03, 2014
Viewed
1325 times

Bienenstock Playgrounds

Organizations/Sources: Bienenstock Playground Design Firm
This playground design website provides ideas to create natural play spaces to connect children with nature. Founder and Principal Designer Adam Bienenstock is an expert in the design and construction of innovative, environmentally sensitive, equipment-free natural playgrounds, natural playground elements and outdoor classrooms.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1182 times

Cedarsong Nature School

Organizations/Sources: Cedarsong Nature School
Cedarsong’s website provides links to a variety of nature education resources and training opportunities.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1170 times

Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators

2008
Authors: David Sobel
In "Childhood and Nature", noted educator David Sobel makes the case that meaningful connections with the natural world don't begin in the rainforest or arctic, but in our own backyards and communities. Based on his observations of recurrent play themes around the world, Sobel articulates seven design principles that can guide teachers in structuring learning experiences for children. Place-based education projects that make effective use of the principles are detailed throughout the book.
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Last Modified
Jun 03, 2014
Viewed
1315 times

Children and Nature Network

Organizations/Sources: Children and Nature Network
This website offers extensive resources, including compiled research reports, current news about nature play, blogs by Richard Louv and others, and a variety of activity guides.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1175 times

Children & Nature Network: Community Action Guide

2014
A publication of Children and Nature Network
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Last Modified
Aug 25, 2017
Viewed
88 times

Children's Special Places: Exploring the Role of Forts, Dens, and Bush Houses in Middle Childhood

1993
Authors: David Sobel
From the ages of five to twelve, the middle years of childhood, young people explore their surroundings and find or construct private spaces. In these secret places, children develop and control environments of their own and enjoy freedom from the rules of the adult world. "Children's Special Places" enters these hidden worlds, reveals their importance to children's development and emotional health, and shows educators, parents, and other adults how they can foster a bond between young people and nature that is important to maturation.
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Last Modified
Jun 03, 2014
Viewed
1279 times

Earthplay

Organizations/Sources: Earthplay
This website provides examples of nature playscapes. Follow the “Design” tab to the “Anarchy Zone” project in Ithaca NY for a rare example of an American “adventure playground” where children have broad freedom to build and create using both natural and manufactured materials.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1179 times

Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood

Organizations/Sources: Green Hearts Institute
The Green Hearts website has a wide range of nature play articles and also offers guides for free download. The “Design Principles for Nature Play Spaces in Nature Centers and Other Natural Areas” under the “Resources” tab is a particularly relevant tool for nature play design.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1197 times

Izaak Walton League of America

Organizations/Sources: Izaak Walton League of America
This conservation organization’s website offers materials about environmental education and nature play, as well as training for their chapter members and the public.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1111 times

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

2005
Authors: Richard Louv
Last Child in the Woods is the first book to bring together the growing body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions and simple ways to heal the broken bond—and many are right in our own backyard. If you have children, teach children, or care about children, this is a must have.
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Last Modified
Jun 30, 2014
Viewed
2269 times

Learning Landscapes

Organizations/Sources: Learning Landscapes
This landscape design website offers project ideas focused on nature play and sustainable landscapes.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1199 times

Managing Risk in Play Provision

2012
Organizations/Sources: Play England
A publication of www.Playengland.net, addressing safety in nature playscapes, with many specific examples and strategies.
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Last Modified
Aug 25, 2017
Viewed
1303 times

Mapmaking with Children: Sense-of-Place Education for the Elementary Years

1998
Authors: David Sobel
"Mapmaking with Children" presents an inspired alternative to traditional geography education. Maintaining that there is no substitute for hands-on experience, David Sobel places the initial emphasis on local projects--projects that begin in students' own backyards and communities, projects that provide a sense of place.
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Last Modified
Jun 03, 2014
Viewed
1532 times

National Environmental Education Foundation

The NEEF website posts articles about environmental education; NEEF also offers professional training and funding opportunities for environmental education.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1222 times

National Recreation and Park Association

NRPA’s website offers a wide range of resources and training opportunities that are relevant to nature play. NRPA is the primary professional organization representing the parks and recreation field.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1153 times

National Wildlife Federation

Organizations/Sources: National Wildlife Federation
The “Kids” area of this website provides nature play ideas, programs and information for educators and parents.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1214 times

Natural Learning Initiative – College of Design

The NLI website provides nature play related publications, research data, news and resources. Training related opportunities are also published.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1183 times

Natural Playgrounds Company

Organizations/Sources: Natural Playgrounds Company
This design firm’s website offers numerous nature play and natural playground articles and information. Natural play research and links to resources are available.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1236 times

Natural Playscapes: Creating Outdoor Play Environments for the Soul

2008
Authors: Rusty Keeler
An illustrated book about nature play designs, with most focus devoted to schoolyards.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1131 times

Nature Explore

Organizations/Sources: Nature Explore
The Nature Explore website includes an Outdoor Classroom Design guide as well as playspace design services, printed resources, and a variety of training opportunities. Nature Explore is a collaborative project of Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1502 times

Nature Play & Learning Places: Creating and Managing Places Where Children Engage with Nature

2014
Authors: Robin Moore and Allen Cooper
This publication offers a set of guidelines for those who create, manage or promote development of nature areas in the everyday environments of children, youth, and families, especially in urban/suburban communities. The goal is to attract kids and families outdoors to interact directly with nature.
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Last Modified
Mar 09, 2015
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1582 times

Nature Play: Maintenance Guide

2009
“Nature Play: Maintenance Guide”, available at http://www.playengland.org.uk, offers guidance and examples from the planning process through daily operations.
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Last Modified
Aug 25, 2017
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72 times

Nature Play: Nurturing Children and Strengthening Conservation through Connections to the Land

2015
Authors: Ken Finch and Andrew M. Loza
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Unstructured, frequent childhood play in informal outdoor settings powerfully boosts the cognitive, creative, physical, social and emotional development of children. It also engenders deep conservation values; more so than any other factor. Part 1 of this guide explores the essential characteristics of nature play, the benefits nature play provides and the societal barriers to it. Part 2 describes the array of concrete actions that organizations may take to restore nature play to children's lives.
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Last Modified
Apr 25, 2017
Viewed
10431 times

Nature’s Playground: Activities, Crafts and Games to Encourage Children to Get Outdoors

2005
Authors: Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield
This book offers an extensive collection of structured but playful outdoor activities for children.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1188 times

North American Association for Environmental Education

This website’s focus is primarily on guidelines and advocacy for environmental education professionals. Training opportunities and information on their educational initiative, Natural Start, are available.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1198 times

Outdoor Access and Programs

2015
Authors: Nicole Faraguna
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Land trusts have available to them a variety of tools and examples of how to improve public access and provide programming on their lands. By providing opportunities for outdoor experiences, land trusts help foster people's connections to nature and conservation.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
2137 times

Pennsylvania Nature Play Areas

2014
Authors: Nicole Faraguna
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
A profile of nature play areas located in Pennsylvania.
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Last Modified
Jan 15, 2015
Viewed
2097 times

Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities

2004
Authors: David Sobel
Through academic research, practical examples, and step-by-step strategies drawn from classrooms throughout the United States, Sobel celebrates teachers who emphasize the connection of school, community, and environment. "Place-Based Education" uses the local community and environment as the starting place for curriculum learning, strengthening community bonds, appreciation for the natural world, and a commitment to citizen engagement
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Last Modified
Jun 03, 2014
Viewed
1281 times

Plants for Play: A Plant Selection Guide for Children’s Outdoor Environments

1993
Authors: Robin Moore
This book is a simple guide to plant species that support nature play as well as poisonous plants to avoid.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
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1258 times

Playground Safety Handbook

2015
The CPSC recommended safety guidelines for public playgrounds. Link can also be found at: http://www.cpsc.gov under the “Safety Education” heading.
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Last Modified
Aug 25, 2017
Viewed
1656 times

Project Learning Tree

An environmental education website, this resource provides curriculum materials geared towards connecting children with nature. Training and resources are designed for educators, parents and community leaders working with youth.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1168 times

Project WILD

Council for Environmental Education, Project WILD
Rating
Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1158 times

Promoting Walking for Wellness

2015
Organizations/Sources: Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Walking is a free, easily accessible activity that improves physical and mental health and connects people with the outdoors. A variety of resources exist for promoting walking.
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Last Modified
Apr 28, 2017
Viewed
1274 times

Reclaiming Childhood: Letting Children Be Children in our Achievement-Oriented Society

2003
Authors: William Crain
This book provides an overview of why children need less stress and structure in their lives; includes many examples of the benefits of outdoor play.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1409 times

The Great Outdoors: Restoring Children’s Right to Play Outside

1995
Authors: Mary Rivkin
A new edition has just been published (2014) of this classic text that presents the case for children’s outdoor play in school settings, and provides practical advice on safety, accessibility, and curriculum.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1158 times

The National Association for the Education of Young Children

The NAEYC website offers articles on children in nature topics and a variety of materials, guidelines, and training opportunities.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1168 times

The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder

2011
Authors: Richard Louv
"The Nature Principle" examines concepts similar to those in "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder" and extends them into adult lives and entire communities.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1110 times

The Thunder Tree: Lessons from an Urban Wildland

1993
Authors: Robert Pyle
Pyle's book highlights personal stories that capture how frequent childhood play led him into his career as a celebrated entomologist and nature writer. Highly recommended reading.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1267 times

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Environmental Education

Organizations/Sources: Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA’s website provides links to a variety of resources and funding opportunities for environmental education.
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Last Modified
May 29, 2014
Viewed
1156 times