Nature Play Week: Why is it important?

Nature Play Week, celebrating its 10th year in 2023, is running from the 17th – 30th April, with countless organised events being held across the country.

Coordinated by Kids in Nature Network, Nature Play Week is a national campaign that encourages parents and caregivers to get their kids outdoors and to experience the benefits of nature play.

Why is nature play important?

In the past 30 years, the preference for indoor spaces has become more prominent as screens have taken up more of our children’s time and attention.

As a result, parental fear, poor urban planning and overly structured play and supervision have all worked together to prevent kids from playing outdoors. This disconnect from nature has serious implications for the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of our kids and of the natural world.

Why are children better off spending time in nature?

Nature play is all about allowing children to explore the natural environment, engage in free play, and to connect with nature. It’s also about helping children to develop a sense of curiosity and creativity.

Research has shown that nature play has a positive impact on children’s physical and mental health, as well as on their cognitive development.

Studies have found that children who spend more time outdoors tend to be more physically active and have better physical health, as well as lower levels of stress and anxiety. They also tend to have better concentration and problem-solving skills.

Nature play can also help to foster a sense of connection and respect for the environment. By exploring the natural world, children can gain an appreciation for the beauty that exists around us and learn to take care of the environment.

What is Nature Play week?

During Nature Play Week, parents and caregivers can find lots of fun and creative activities that inspire children to explore and connect with nature.

From building a den in the woods to playing in the mud, there are so many activities that can help children to have fun and to learn about the environment.

Nature play can be an important part of a child’s development and it can be a great way for them to get active and to explore the world around them. To join in Nature Play Week and get your kids outdoors, check out their calendar of events here.

If there aren’t any events near you or you can’t make it to them, here is a list of 10 nature play ideas you can do with your baby or toddler any time of year (remember the saying, ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing’!):

  1. Take a nature walk and observe animals and plants.
  2. Collect rocks and leaves to explore shapes and textures.
  3. Use natural objects such as sticks, leaves, and stones to create art and music.
  4. Plant flowers, herbs, and vegetables together.
  5. Go on a scavenger hunt for natural items.
  6. Make mud pies with dirt, water and rocks.
  7. Build a miniature fort or ‘campfire’ using sticks and rocks.
  8. Make a bird feeder out of an old milk carton.
  9. Fly a kite.
  10. Go on a bug hunt.
X click to search