Children in Nature - Natural Play Spaces

Elements of a Natural Play Space

Small Worlds are Miniature Ecosystems

Children are drawn to miniature worlds, or ecosystems, where they can use their imagination to create their own special place. Nature Play Spaces include many of the elements of the larger world, just on a smaller scale.

  • Plants
  • Sand
  • Water
  • Rocks
  • Gardens

Miniature ecosystems or representation of the surrounding culture - such as this lighthouse replica.

Calverton School
Calvert County

The scale of these stools put the kids' perspective as part of this smaller world.

Natural boundary sand box.

Calverton School
Calvert County

Portable fort building for creating their own world.

Photo courtesy of Parks and People Foundation

Child scale seating.

Brookside Nature Center
Montgomery County

Plants can be used for walls in a space.

Small hiding places can spark imagination.


A small world built in the sand from seashells, rocks & pine cones

Seashells, rocks and pine cones become a small world in the sand.