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Creating Outdoor Play Environments for Toddlers & Children In Puerto Rico

When we talk about creating natural play environments, we are not talking about highly complex industrialized play contraptions. We are talking about creating simple, natural areas with trees, grass, shrubs, hills and paths. They can be as simple or fanciful as you desire and as your space, skills, and budget allow.

How children experience the world?
Children learn with their whole bodies through the experiences we share with them. The environments
we live and work in teach children. They show children what the world is made of. The three discoveries
used in child development are:


  • Art – Children should have beautiful art for play in their own spaces. It promotes creativity and fine motor skills.

  • Nature – Play areas should integrate climbing and physical challenges, trees that attract birds, butterflies, etc. All are source of interest and exploration for a young child’s mind, learning about the world he/she lives in.

  • Movement – Compromises physical activity to promote growth, strong bones, better coordination, exercise, and exploration.

The greatest reward is seeing children exploring and playing each day in their newly created natural spaces. It all happened out there: fast physical play, creative construction play, dramatic play, science discoveries, or areas quiet retreat – all stimulating children’s imaginations and activating their language and communications skills.

Children’s access to nature has always been an important issue, but it has recently become a hot topic among educator, researchers, governments, and parents. Recent scientific studies are proving that when children have access to the natural world, the quality of life improved. Research is showing that green spaces lower children’s stress levels, decrease the rate of attention deficit disorders, and reduce the numbers of behavioral issues. Schools and childcare facilities are doing their part to transform their yards into multi-sensory natural playscapes.

The purpose of building natural playground is:


  • Incorporate the integral development of the infants participating in the Early and Head Start Programs by creating natural playgrounds.

  • Provide a schematic design for the development of a natural playground to maximize the opportunities for the imagination, spatial senses, and motor development of the children, taking into consideration federal guidelines regarding safety and health.

  • We now know that children need a variety of rich, stimulating experiences and environments that support a wide range of play increative ways that integrate more natural landscapes.



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