Nature Play at Home: Creating Outdoor Spaces That Connect Children with the Natural World

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"A magnificent resource for transforming backyards into stimulating environments which enhance children's creativity, learning, and fun." --Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the WoodsThe Nature Principle, and Vitamin N


Access to technology has created a generation of children who are more plugged in than ever before--often with negative consequences. But there is a solution. Unrestricted outdoor play helps reduce stress, improve health, and enhance creativity, learning, and attention span. In Nature Play at Home, Nancy Striniste gives you the tools you need to make outdoor adventures possible in your own backyard. With hundreds of inspiring ideas and illustrated, step-by-step projects, this hardworking book details how to create playspaces that use natural materials--like logs, boulders, sand, water, and plants of all kinds. Projects include hillside slides, seating circles, sand pits, and more.

Jacket Description/Back:

Research proves it: unstructured outdoor play reduces stress, improves health, and enhances development. Nature Play at Home shows you how to create natural playscapes in your backyards and neighborhoods. Nancy Striniste, a leading expert on child-friendly outdoor design, offers hundreds of inspiring photos, 15 step-by-step projects, thematic plant lists, and the best ideas for helping kids get creative outside.

"With Striniste's guidance, natural playscapes can awaken the senses, challenge bodies, inspire imagination, build confidence, and create comfort for all ages. Nature Play at Home is sure to Inspire readers to take action in their backyards and encourage creative play in nature for years to come." --Booklist


"A magnificent resource for transforming backyards into stimulating environments which enhance children's creativity, learning, and fun." --Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, The Nature Principle, and Vitamin N


"A remarkable treasure trove of ideas, with close-ups of nature play elements that real children want to play on. What a gift to children, parents, and designers." --David Sobel, author of Place-Based Education, Childhood and Nature, Beyond Ecophobia, and Wild Play


"Hard to put down. Expert guidance laced with luscious images of beautiful natural places for children, plus explanations of why and how we should be building them." --Ginny Sullivan, coauthor of Lens on Outdoor Learning


"This makes creating nature play spaces accessible to anyone. It offers ways to tease the senses and nurture the soul, and open the mind to endless possibilities." --Margo Sipes, Executive Director of Downtown Baltimore Child Care


"Innovative ideas and step-by-step illustrated projects ... A wonderful book for families and caregivers." -- Redlands Daily Facts


"Reading this book just might send you out to the natural spaces that nourish us, reinvigorate us, soothe us, and open worlds to us." ­-- Washington Gardener


"Jam-packed with ideas... that will attract the curiosity of children and engage their imagination." -- Landscape Architecture Magazine


Nancy Striniste is the founder and principal designer at EarlySpace, LLC. She has a background as both a landscape designer and an early childhood educator. She teaches at Antioch New England University in their Nature-based Early Childhood graduate certificate program and serves on the leadership team of NoVA Outside. Read more about Nancy and her work at

Timber Press

Pub Date:  April 02, 2019

0.6" H x 8.9" L x 7.9" W

288 pages