• Nature Play For the kids

    Why nature play is good for kids and how to do it


‘Nature play’ is a term that is often bandied about, but what does it actually mean? Find out more below, and the nature play opportunities this week in Centennial Parklands!

Playing outdoors was part of most of our childhoods. Whether it was riding a bike, climbing trees, kicking a football or playing games in the backyard, many of us have fond memories.

Unfortunately for many kids today, this is not their everyday experience. Kids are spending less time outdoors playing. In fact, a sad reflection of our times is captured in a sentiment recently expressed, that the average Australian child spends less than two hours a day outside, which is less than most maximum security prisoners!

Nature play is simply unstructured play outdoors. Time spent by child exploring, experimenting and engaging with the natural world.

Here is a fantastic episode of ABC Catalyst that was filmed last year partly in Centennial Parklands. It gives a great insight into nature play.


What are some of the benefits to kids of nature play?

Nature Play WA summarised the following benefits from existing research:

  • Children who play regularly in natural settings are sick less often. Mud, sand, water, leaves, sticks, pine cones and gum nuts can help to stimulate children’s immune system as well as their imagination.
  • Children who spend more time outside tend to be more physically active and less likely to be overweight.
  • Children who play in natural settings are more resistant to stress; have lower incidence of behavioural disorders, anxiety and depression; and have a higher measure of self-worth.
  • Children who play in natural settings play in more diverse, imaginative and creative ways and show improved language and collaboration skills. Single use, repetitive play equipment becomes boring quickly.
  • Natural, irregular and challenging spaces help kids learn to recognise, assess and negotiate risk and build confidence and competence.
  • Children who play in nature have more positive feelings about each other.
  • Bullying behaviour is greatly reduced where children have access to diverse nature-based play environments.
  • Symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder are reduced after contact with nature.


There are a wide range of health and other benefits to kids from getting outdoors

There are a wide range of health and other benefits to kids from getting outdoors


Opportunities for nature play in Centennial Parklands

Centennial Parklands is a nature play haven for kids in Sydney – just minutes from the Sydney CBD is over 360 hectares of space to explore – much of it being open space and nature-based settings to explore and enjoy.

However, we also run a number of kids programs based on nature play principles and run them throughout the year.

Head to our What’s On online calendar (or download our free smartphone app) for all the upcoming programs now.

Get outdoors and enjoy what Centennial Parklands has to offer!


Wild Play Garden - Centennial Park




Similar Articles

  • Sydney’s kids go wild for WILD PLAY!

    The Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden in Centennial Park is proving a hit with the kids of Sydney. Over the past week, children and their families from right across Sydney made their way to the Garden, which is designed to be an outdoor learning experience for kids of all abilities and backgrounds. It is made […]

  • Cubbies and nature quests – all the highlights from Outdoor Classroom Day

    A mass of grinning little faces descended upon Centennial Park last Thursday for international Outdoor Classroom Day. The special day had hundreds of school-aged children learning ways to reconnect with nature while playing outside and Centennial Parklands’ experienced ‘nature play’ educators were on the ground to lead the way! There were sensory games, trails to follow […]

  • From ‘Junk’ to ‘Nature Play’: the evolution of the Modern Playground

    Think back to your childhood and picture this – moving moving across the monkey bars, racing your friends to the top of the jungle gym, perhaps you were a sandpit fan? With this play came laughter, games, scrapes and bruises, but most importantly it framed our childhoods.  Modern playgrounds have become a symbol of our youth, our creativity […]

  • Wild Play Render
    Centennial Park’s first treehouse is coming!

    Centennial Park will soon be home to Sydney’s first $4M children’s wild play garden and within the new 6,000 sqm state-of-the-art facility will be our first natural Treehouse complete with slide, rope bridges and all!