Nature Play in the Schoolyard

I have been a proponent of nature play in and out of school time for twenty years.

But you all know this. I write about the benefits of nature, unstructured play, and reasonable risk for optimal child development all the time. In fact, it’s what The Grass Stain Guru blog is all about.

I stumbled on this lovely and powerful video that explores nature play in three schools in Scotland. It bares mentioning that the narrator states how the UK is far behind European schools embracing nature play. And let it said, the USA is far behind the UK in embracing nature play and reasonable risk for children.

Well, it’s time to play catch up!

Please watch this video for inspiration and ideas to bring nature to your school or center grounds.


See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru

photo by: reggestraat

Prescription for Play

 ”In order to succeed in the real world, you have to be

able to fail.” ~  Dr. Ken Ginsburg

51% Anticipation, 49% Trepidation

For several years now, I have been speaking and writing on just this topic. On Super Kids. On education reform. On the importance of play and time in nature. On the need to fail. On the need for parents to relax and let kids be kids. In fact, it’s why I started this blog — to create a place to talk about restoring childhood and saving ourselves in the process.

I am so excited to share this video with you. How powerful is the need for play and the need for parents to step back and help redefine success in a way that is not measured by test scores and achievements, but by happiness and resiliency? Let’s have a few voices from the medical field chime in.

We are raising a generation at risk and as a society we must change our course. It’s really that simple. Please watch the video below and share it with people you know. If you are a parent, step back and take a critical look at the childhood your kids are having.

The video features Dr. Ken Ginsburg, pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and author of Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings, and Dr. Marilyn Benoit, Chief Clinical Officer at Devereux Behavioral Health and former president of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

I would love to know your thoughts on the video.

See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru

Creative Commons License photo credit: Kazz.0

Activitypalooza: Nature & Outdoor Play Ideas

Shoes. Again.
Recently, I had the opportunity to do a really fun workshop for early childhood educators and caregivers up in Winnipeg, Canada. For me, early childhood is the best place to establish connections with the natural world and help establish preferences for outdoor play and exploration.

Reaching children and families BEFORE the plugging-in of childhood to media and electronic devices is key to help raise a generation of happy, healthy children — and early childhood professionals are  the linchpin for success.

Besides, there is no audience I would rather work with. Early childhood folks have a playful spirit and are so game for anything, including making up dances and cheers about little brown bats, pocket gophers, tree frogs and red squirrels. No, I am not kidding you.

But I digress…

So, I thought I would share one of the outcomes of our workshop here — and let me tell you, we put the work in workshop!  We created a school/program-year calendar of nature and outdoor play ideas and activities.

Click on the link below to download your calendar today. You’ll find a little bit of everything – math, art, movement, science, literacy, and lots of play and exploration. Um, and lots of snow-related activities. It was Canada, after all. :-)


I hope you enjoy the calendar, and are inspired to take your teaching outside — and bring the outdoors in. I promise, there is no better way to reach and teach all children. Besides, it will “raise your game” as an educator and/or caregiver.

I would love to know what you think. And please share the calendar far and wide. The more kids we get outside, the better!

See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru

PS: To all my groovy workshop attendees, thanks for all the great ideas! What you’ll find here is a combination of your group work, the activities we did in the workshop and additional activities from me to fill in the blanks, etc. Yay team!

This post is part of the We Play link-up at Childhood 101 and the Let’s Play link-up at Let the Children Play. Viva play!

Creative Commons License photo credit: Gdpaule


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