Skip Navigation Links
"Play is our brain's favorite way of learning."

Diane Ackerman
(American author)

Childhood experiences

Where to start? Your own childhood may be a good place!

Think about those happy times when you were young and played (often unsupervised) in the bush, collecting nuts (a.k.a. artillery or money) or building cubbies (a.k.a. a cave or a mansion). Or when you dabbled in a creek, built a dam, or skipped a stone. Or that sense of achievement when you climbed a big old tree – and managed to get back down again.

The benefits of those experiences may not be tangible, but, intuitively, you know they were an important part of your upbringing. Well, you’re right. And there is research to prove it.

What the research says

Kidsafe WA has summarised some of the current research in the area of nature-based play:

  • Children who play regularly in natural settings are sick less often. Mud, sand, water, leaves, sticks, pine cones and gumnuts can help to stimulate children’s immune systems as well as their imaginations.

  • Children who spend more time outside tend to be more physically active and are less likely to be overweight.

  • Children who play in natural settings are more resistant to stress; have lower incidence of behavioural disorder, anxiety and depression; and have a higher measure of self-worth.

  • Children who play in natural settings play in more diverse, imaginative and creative ways and show improved language and collaboration skills.

  • Children who play in nature have more positive feelings about each other.

  • Bullying behaviour is greatly reduced where children have access to diverse nature-based play environments.

  • Symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder are reduced after contact with nature.

Find out about our nature play services.