Elements of a Natural Play Space
Animal Allies - Creating Bonds and Associations with Animals
Connecting with nature from the animals perspective
The opportunity to observe animals or “explore” their worlds
"Projecting feelings and human characteristics onto animals facilitates relationships. It makes animals and people part of one larger family, with kinship relationships and rules for sharing and caretaking that weave the clans together. Rather than consider [anthropomorphizing] as immature or undeveloped, we can consider it advantageous as an opportunity to create empathy, a feeling for other creatures that can develop into a willingness to care for other creatures."
- Sobel, David; Childhood and Nature: Design Principles (or Play Motifs) For Educators, Stenhouse Publishing; Portland, ME; 2008
Whimsical animal sculptures using vegetation and other materals.
A bird blind for observing birds and animals.
Brookside Nature Center
A bird nest built from twigs allows the children to be a bird themselves.
Photo courtesy of Parks and People Foundation
Lizard shaped seating or balancing beams.
Paw Paw Playground
Do You Know a Nature Play Space?
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Examples of Nature Play Spaces
- Assateague State Park
- Adkins Arboretum
- Brookside Nature Center
- Calverton School
- Carroll Park
- Greenbrier State Park
- Howard County Conservancy
- Irvine Nature Center
- Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
- Locust Grove
- Oregon Ridge
- Patapsco Valley State Park
- Play and Learn Annapolis
- Rocks State Park
- Sharre Tefila Preschool