What is Wild Play?
"Wild Play" sounds like a scary proposition, however studies have shown that children who engage in this type of play-making in a natural environmental setting experience great benefits in terms of increased self esteem, they display more creativity, have better logic and problem-solving skills.
In a report commissioned by Centennial Parklands on the subject of "Children's Gardens", the benefits of outdoor play, or as we like to call it "Wild Play", were highlighted as:
allowing children independent freedom for exploration and discovery is important for development.
enabling play in a natural setting is equally as important as classroom learning activities.
children intuitively use their environment for play, so the diverse landscape therefore contributes to the development of intuitive perception.
too much artificial stimulation may cause exhaustion and produce a loss of health. The natural environment is a salve for this.
children participate in more physical play when outdoors than indoors. There is a proven increase in motor fitness and development in outdoor play spaces.
outdoor environments are more conducive to dramatic and creative play.There is more group play and cooperation in outdoor play than indoor play.
nature play has also shown numerous proven mental health benefits.
nature play constitutes a vital role in health and wellbeing.
experiencing nature is an important means of releasing stress and improving wellbeing.
contact with nature increases self-esteem and enhances school performance.
there is a proven link between outdoor curricula and enhanced learning.
there is a proven link between contact with green space and enhanced capacity to pay attention.
studies have shown that contact with nature reduces attention deficit disorder symptoms.
studies have also linked outdoor play with improved behaviour and less anxiety and depression.
the freedom to play and move in an environment is the way that children learn to distinguish between self and other.
outdoor play allows children to establish their own relationships with the surrounding world.
contact with nature fosters awareness of the interrelationships between living organisms.
helps overcome the notion that people are “separate from” rather than an integral part of nature.
The Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden in Centennial Park will be a space where imaginations can run wild.
Through formal education programs and nature-based free play in the Garden, urban kids will:
overcome fears and discover the beauty and joy of their natural environment
develop a desire to protect the environment – providing a solution to arguably the single biggest environmental problem of our era
develop skills (problem solving, risk management, self-esteem, social skills, cognitive and gross motor skills)