There is a steady rise of natural playgrounds in Ontario. They are turning up at school playgrounds to parks and even childcare centers. The creation of natural spaces for play helps kids connect to nature, become more physically active and develop limitless opportunities for creative play. Studies have also shown that natural play contributes to the overall cognitive and emotional development of children, helps them score higher on tests for concentration and self-discipline, and helps them exhibit less aggressive behavior.
Natural playgrounds work for all ages too, since there are things for everyone to be involved with from gardening, playing or simply sitting and enjoying the natural surroundings.
According to this Globe and Mail article, natural playgrounds prompt more imaginative play, foster social interaction, and can even cut down on bullying. As natural playgrounds increase in popularity, there are five elements that consistently surface: a rolling topographical design, large rocks or boulders, rough-hewn logs, natural pathways and large trees or shrubbery. The specific elements used are typically from surrounding areas to maintain local landscape integrity.
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