Interacting with natural environments through sensory & imagination based play

Play… naturally

“Play is the work of the child” ~ Maria Montessori

“The more risks you allow children to take, the better they learn to take care of themselves” ~ Roald Dahl

Children love to play…and we love to design and build natural spaces for them to do just that. If children play in nature and environments where they take more risk, the benefits are endless. Their gross motor and cognitive skills are enriched, and their immune systems are strengthened. But most of all, their love  and appreciation of nature is enhanced.

The nature play movement has grown in recent years and many education facilities have taken bold moves to remove old playgrounds and replace them with natural play environments; playgrounds with mounds, sandpits, handpumps, watercourses, digging patches rocks and logs. All are now apart of the playgrounds we design and build, encouraging a place for children to play, investigate and learn.

As a commercial landscape and construction company that specialises in Nature play, we have helped many schools, early learning centres and Councils develop their ideas into engaging realities. No two sites are the same, so we collaborate closely with our clients to deliver the best possible outcomes within site constraints and budgetary limitations.

Our in-house Landscape Architect and designers can come to you to discuss your Nature play ideas, along with site opportunities and community expectations. From here we develop a concept plan for feedback and further refinement. Finally, a scaled CAD site design is produced including setout/surfaces plan, planting plan, detailed drawings, specifications, maintenance schedule and cost estimate (if required).

When it comes to constructing Nature play spaces, our crew are exceptionally talented, experienced, and professional. We design and build our nature play ‘elements’ completely in-house, where we can be assured of a consistent, quality-focussed approach. Such elements include cubby frames, timber towers, mud kitchens, stepping logs, interactive water features, creek beds, music walls, climbing nets, balancing ropes, rocks & logs etc.

With so many technological distractions and built environments in our everyday surroundings, it has never been more important for children to connect with nature. Nature Play encourages risk taking, imagination and connection to natural surfaces. Our goal is creating inspiring realities for children to explore.

If you would like to discuss Nature Play opportunities for your space, please contact us.

Our philosophy about Nature play encompasses that of many well-regarded educators, researchers, authors, and institutions. While we are immersed in a world of technological advancements and possibilities, we must not diminish our biological connection to the natural world. Nature is the world’s greatest educational tool.

“Our challenge isn’t so much to teach children about the natural world, but to find ways to sustain the instinctive connections they already carry.” ~ Terry Krautwurst

We believe in developing children’s minds through creative play, exposure to risk and engagement with nature. We aim to have an impact on all of those that experience our Nature play spaces; that they walk away with an appreciation of the environment they were in.

Nature play is any activity that gets children active or thinking actively outdoors, with the end goal of building skills and ability to play without the need for parental or adult control. This can be in any setting, so long as it’s outdoors” ~ Nature Play QLD

Nature play focuses on the assessment of risk, building of experience, developing physical skill, observation, and consideration of surroundings. It allows children to drive their own education, to ask questions, to be mindful of their surroundings, to engage their senses and it encourages risk-taking.

Risk is a common parental concern when referring to Nature play. Allowing children to make their own assessment of risk provides a sense of responsibility and a subsequent understanding of the consequences of their actions, good or bad. Empowering children to make these assessments, and act as they are comfortable, is highly important in their mental and physical development.

Nature play encourages physical activity and informal learning. It is well documented that exposure to natural settings enhance cognitive abilities, helps reduce stress, develops self-regulation and self-discipline, increases problem solving abilities and increases physical and emotional health. The importance for humans to connect with the natural environment can be undervalued in our modern lives.

Nature play seeks to bridge the gap between the school playgrounds and parks we are used to, and untamed nature. By incorporating natural elements into a play space, we offer children the chance to connect with more natural surfaces in a semi-structured manner.

Nature Play SA’s vision is to inspire the SA community to engage and connect children and adults to nature through outdoor learning, play and immersion. They provide an extensive suite of resources for educators, communities, and families.

There are similar organisations across Australia providing an array of resources and services. We’d strongly recommend getting in touch with Nature Play SA (or similar interstate) to see what resources and/or services that may be of interest.

Dirtwork Landscapes would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of Country, and recognise their relationship and connection with the land, waters and people. We respect and thank Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders cultures; elders past and present for the land we work and live on.