Risky Play Meets Nature Play, Vancouver (2017) 

Project Type: Study / Publication

Funding: University of British Columbia – Hampton Fund

Role: Research/ Design/ Author

Team: Susan Herrington, Mariana Brussoni, Takuro Ishikawa

Recent generations of children have had their natural play environments substituted with pre-fabricated play spaces that optimize safety and risk reduction with little regard for children’s developmental and play needs. This study arose from concerns that societal and parental attempts to keep children safe may have gone too far when it comes to children’s opportunities to play, particularly outside. We examined the effects of an intervention to increase access to nature and challenging play opportunities in the outdoor play environment of two childcare centers with low quality play spaces. Read the paper here.

Study Design

We used the Seven Cs play space design criteria, adding natural materials to enhance affordances for play and measured play value in the pre- and post- design spaces using the 7Cs Evaluation Metric. The study measured changes in play, social behavior, psychological wellbeing, and physical activity in 46 children aged 2 to 5.