The Natural Playscape – Create Your Own!


Before you go out and purchase that expensive swing set, or even if you already have, you might want to consider incorporating a natural playscape into your yard. A natural playscape is like a playground made of materials found in nature. Think logs, stumps, earth mounds, rocks, plants and sand. Sound less exciting than your traditional wood, plastic and metal setup? Our very own University of Tennessee finds the opposite to be true. A recent study (and a groundbreaking one, I might add) showed that children in a natural playscape were more physically active and more imaginative in their play, which was also found to last about twice as long when compared to their play on a more typical playground. natural_playscape_nashmomsblog_playground_toddler But wait, there’s more! After playing in a natural playscape, children are better able to concentrate and score higher on tests. Their balance and coordination improve. They play better together, fewer children are left out, and there is less bullying. They are calmer, more positive and have less stress. And, of course, they develop a reverence for nature. I’m not making this stuff up, y’all! There is bona fide research on this subject. nashville_playscape_natural_playground_toddler_nashmomsblog So now you are sold, right? Right. And you no doubt want to know how to set up your child’s very own natural playscape. You will want to incorporate natural things to sit and stand on, like logs or stumps. Nooks and crannies and places to hide are a great addition. Add some water, some flowers, maybe a sandbox – even a dirtbox! You will want lots and lots of loose parts—like pinecones, rocks, sticks, wood boards, and shells—that can be moved around and used to construct different imaginary projects. Here are some photos of the early stages of the natural playground my husband and I are working on for our 16-month-old: toddler_diy_nashmomsblog_Nashville_natural_playground_playscape You can also find natural playscapes at several local playgrounds including Shelby Park!

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Lacey is a born-and-raised, tried-and-true Nashvillian. She tried moving away once but couldn’t hack it and moved right back home where she lives with her husband, Thomas, their one-year-old son, Gray, and three dogs, Munky, Puma and Eevee. Lacey worked in the veterinary field until two weeks before Gray was born and is grateful she is now able to be a stay-at-home mommy who gets to take her son on the town and discover all the family fun Nashville has to offer. She loves Steinbeck, vegetarian cooking (and eating) and binge watching television series on Netflix during the few precious hours her baby boy sleeps.


  1. Great story, well written and true. I grew up on a farm in Brentwood. Building with rocks, twigs and stumps found in the woods was an everyday occurrence throughout my childhood. As an adult I find that I am always aware of the gifts of nature and I have a sense of peace. Today’s children are so busy with screen time that they miss this gift given to us. All we have to do is explore!


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