Children are not limited to the same type of physical activity they can find on traditional playgrounds. They are encouraged to jump and climb on even and uneven structures. They are also encouraged to build structures which creates new opportunities for physical activity.
Through natural play, children are encouraged to interact with one another as they interact with the environment. Through these interactions, children develop skills in sharing, leadership, empathy, negotiation, and confidence.
Research indicates that natural playgrounds encourage children to use their imagination, creativity, and problem solving skills to interact within the environment. It also encourages children to develop initiative to complete tasks and it improves sensory stimulation.
As Dr. Wood and Dr. Martin state, "contact with nature has been associated with a number of health benefits for children, such as improved cognitive function, increased creativity, improved interactions with adults, reduced ADHD symptoms, and reduced rates of aggression".
Natural, irregular, and challenging spaces help children learn to recognize, assess, and negotiate risk and build confidence and competence.
Wood, L., & Martin, K. (2010). What makes a good play area for children. Centre for the Built Environment and Health, The University of Western Australia.(29.05. 2012) http://www. uwa. edu. au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/1857467/What-makes-a-goodplay-arealiterature-summaryfeb2011. pdf.