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Growing Our Youth with Nature-Based Playscapes

Harrington Speaks at Annual NRPA National Congress

Laurel Harrington of Christner and Laurie Harmon of the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse recently presented this topic at the 2016 National Recreation & Park Association (NRPA) National Congress in St. Louis. Their presentation included research focusing on outdoor play as a critical component for the development of our emotional, physical, psychological and cognitive well-being. Local and national examples illustrated how playscapes reduce barriers to nature-deprived children while providing enriching play to nature-savvy kids. Attendees were even able to build their own miniature playscape as part of the session.  

Nature-based playscapes are one tool in the effort to encourage our children to play outdoors. Spurred by NRPA/National Wildlife Federation’s 10 Million Kids Outdoors Campaign, nature-based playscapes are gaining the attention of recreation professionals. The range of benefits children derive from time in nature is substantial, and a significant effort is needed to bring kids and nature together.

View the complete presentation here.