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On the Path to Nature

  • Thursday, 30 October 2014

Boost children's love for the outdoors with Pathways for Play

In today’s world, most children live in urban cities far from nature. As lot sizes continue to shrink – backyard green space becomes sparse. For some kids, a trip to their local conservation authority can be the first time they develop a greater understanding and appreciation for nature. 

While trails still exist in the suburbs, country and even in the city, only a small portion of children are making use of them. Numerous studies state that being in nature greatly improves physical and mental health, but how do we get children interested?

PlayCore, whose mission is to advance play through research, programs and partnerships, believes the best way for children to connect with their natural environment is to combine learning with play. PlayCore has teamed up with the Natural Learning Initiative to offer Pathways for Play: Best Practices Guidelines to integrate play - critical for children's health - into walkable, bikeable, shared use community pathway networks infused with "play pockets”.

Pathways for Play is a 61 page educational resource that helps communities plan, design, and promote playful pathways. By infusing play along trails, the hope is that it will engage and motivate children to get outdoors and get active together. An ideal setting for this- local conservation areas. 

“Conservation areas have always provided vital environmental education to children. Pathways for Play serves as a great resource to help enhance students’ overall knowledge and excitement for nature,” said Play! Sales Associate Eric Nadeau. “As children explore a trail, they will encounter nature-themed play pockets that encourage hands-on learning and fun.”

The term pathway covers all forms of infrastructure, including greenways, trails and sidewalks that are used by pedestrians and cyclists. The term play pocket covers all forms of spaces and facilities identifiable by children and caregivers as play environments integral to playful pathways. Play pockets vary in size and may contain a mix of natural, living, and manufactured elements located on and linked by playful pathways.

As kids walk along the path, they will come across GameTime’s educational signage and PlayTrails activity signs which help improve environmental literacy, reconnect children to nature and encourage imagination. See examples of PlayTrails activity guides HERE.

Choose from an assortment of Fun Facts on wildlife (Bugs & Leaves pictured below) that allow kids to discover fascinating facts about nature through observation. The kids will be talking about it long after the field trip!   

The Pathways for Play guidebook provides best practice guidelines for upgrading existing or designing new systems that:

  • Extend play value
  • Enable health promotion
  • Create family fun
  • Expand inclusion
  • Engage users with nature
  • Reinforce environmental literacy

On the right Path? Contact a Play! Sales Associate to learn more about Pathways for Play and receive your COMPLIMENTARY guidebook. Our sales staff can help you implement these best practices to incorporate play into trails and pathway networks in your community. 

About PlayCore: PlayCore believes that play enriches lives and they are committed to enriching play and fitness for children, families and communities. PlayCore is the parent company of GameTime, North America's largest manufacturer of playground equipment and the renowned leader in play.

 bugs sign

Pathways guidebook

Playcore_Logo

 

Leah-Iverson-Portrait

LEAH IVERSON

Marketing Communications Manager

Leah is putting pen to paper in her role as Marketing Communications Manager for both Crozier’s Landmark and Play! divisions. Her main responsibilities include leading marketing and communication efforts through strategic articles, website content and by enhancing engagement on various social media platforms. read more

leah.iverson@crozier.ca