Children in Nature - Natural Play Spaces

Elements of a Natural Play Space

Special Places - Discovered or Constructed

Nature Play Spaces are places where there are lots of different things to do and lots of loose parts that children can use to create their own structure. Branches, fallen trees, old brush piles, or scrap wood is transformed into a fort, a castle, a home away from home.

These hide-away places, or retreats, whether discovered or constructed by children, provide an imaginary world that helps bridge between the safety of home and family and the larger world.

  • Hiding Places
  • Fort Building
  • Loose Parts

Pathway leads to a special hiding area.

Wigwams harken local native American history.

Adkins Arboretum
Paw Paw Playground

Blueberry bush hiding space.

Play and Learn Annapolis

Live Willow Tunnel

Play and Learn Annapolis

Curtains of material can be used to create hiding places.

Locust Grove
Montgomery County

Natural hiding places.

Brookside Nature Center
Montgomery County

Special places created from bean poles.

Bamboo cuttings and twigs used for fort building.

Photo courtesy of Parks and People Foundation

Special places can even be found in trees.

Tunnel & Mound at Greenbriar State Park

Crawling tunnel provides hiding space and adventure.

Greenbrier State Park
Washington County

Native Honeysuckle Teepee - Adkins Arboretum

Bean pole teepee.

Adkins Arboretum
Caroline County

Fort building creates a space of their own.

Photo courtesy of Parks and People Foundation