Nature play spaces as learning environments




Bender, Susanna

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



There is a renewed interest and drive to incorporate nature-based learning experiences into the public school system. The emphasis is on taking children out into nature and bringing nature into the classroom. What nature-based learning looks like depends on many factors but the commonality between all programs is that they aim to take advantage of what nature provides to enhance and develop children’s knowledge and hands-on experiences. In this project I draw on experiential learning theory, the nature-study movement and attention restoration theory. Together these theories validate using nature play spaces as learning environments to support and motivate students’ social, emotional, cognitive and physical development. By allowing students to explore the outdoors and use the natural affordances provided by nature, educators can promote students’ curiosity, alleviate fears, and connect play in nature to learning in the classroom. In this capstone I focused on the creation of an interactive nature play space database which I think would be useful as a starting point and resource for teachers to begin their excursion into the world of nature-based learning.



Nature play spaces, learning outdoors