In recent years, there has been a significant drive to reconnect people with the natural world around them through play. Natural playgrounds, playscapes, nature play areas, outdoor learning environments – these increasingly common terms refer to intentionally designed spaces that put users in direct contact with real, raw nature with a focus on the value of play. While not a new idea or concept, nature play is rapidly gaining popularity in municipalities, school districts, and childcare centers across North America.
In 2017, Valerian partnered with Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds to develop the comprehensive design guidelines for implementing nature play in the built environment. The guidelines document the importance of exposure to nature through play and provide the framework for designing successful nature play environments.