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The Natural Playscape – Create Your Own!

Before you go out and purchase that expensive swing set, or even if you already have, you might want to consider incorporating a natural playscape into your yard. A natural playscape is like a playground made of materials found in nature. Think logs, stumps, earth mounds, rocks, plants and sand. Sound less exciting than your traditional wood, plastic and metal setup? Our very own University of Tennessee finds the opposite to be true. A recent study (and a groundbreaking one, I might add) showed that children in a natural playscape were more physically active and more imaginative in their play, which was also found to last about twice as long when compared to their play on a more typical playground. natural_playscape_nashmomsblog_playground_toddler But wait, there’s more! After playing in a natural playscape, children are better able to concentrate and score higher on tests. Their balance and coordination improve. They play better together, fewer children are left out, and there is less bullying. They are calmer, more positive and have less stress. And, of course, they develop a reverence for nature. I’m not making this stuff up, y’all! There is bona fide research on this subject. nashville_playscape_natural_playground_toddler_nashmomsblog So now you are sold, right? Right. And you no doubt want to know how to set up your child’s very own natural playscape. You will want to incorporate natural things to sit and stand on, like logs or stumps. Nooks and crannies and places to hide are a great addition. Add some water, some flowers, maybe a sandbox – even a dirtbox! You will want lots and lots of loose parts—like pinecones, rocks, sticks, wood boards, and shells—that can be moved around and used to construct different imaginary projects. Here are some photos of the early stages of the natural playground my husband and I are working on for our 16-month-old: toddler_diy_nashmomsblog_Nashville_natural_playground_playscape You can also find natural playscapes at several local playgrounds including Shelby Park!

5 Responses to The Natural Playscape – Create Your Own!

  1. Nissa July 15, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    Love this! Some great ideas as we do some backyard planning in the next few weeks!

    • laceysamuel July 21, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

      Did you look on Pinterest for more ideas? There are soooooo many cool things you can do!!

  2. adora SWANSON July 16, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    Great story, well written and true. I grew up on a farm in Brentwood. Building with rocks, twigs and stumps found in the woods was an everyday occurrence throughout my childhood. As an adult I find that I am always aware of the gifts of nature and I have a sense of peace. Today’s children are so busy with screen time that they miss this gift given to us. All we have to do is explore!

  3. Alana Rasbach July 25, 2014 at 7:05 am #

    Agree 100%! We love Shelby’s nature play area.


  1. End-of-Summer Nashville Stay-cation Itinerary | Nashville Moms Blog - July 27, 2014

    […] outside. (For more info on the benefits of natural playgrounds, read our article on them here.) After your little ones have had their fill of digging in the dirt, take the trail just behind the […]

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