Research has shown that children, especially during their early development, prefer the outdoors over indoor environments as tools for discovery. There are many theories as to why this may be the case, but the common thread or concept is that children have not yet developed an inclination for indoor environments and their sense of wonder and discovery is stimulated when they are immersed in nature. Outdoor discovery play is attractive to children because the natural playground creates a feeling of infinite space that has not been created by adults and is diverse and ever changing. Children seem to have more freedom to do as they wish, and to interact with and manipulate the environment. They simply have the green light on getting dirty, playing with natural material, and generally making a mess. Research also tells us that this immersion in nature play can instill a conservation ethic or affinity to the natural world.
Our nature play garden offers children these elements but also integrates the concepts of gardening for hummingbirds, butterflies, and growing vegetables. We are showcasing non-native/non-invasive specimens that supply food for hummingbirds and butterfly host plant species.
Even though native plant usage is a key element to our programing and facility, it is important to show that non- native nectar producing plants are very important for hummingbirds and butterflies and can be used in home landscaping. We also integrate the playground into our lower elementary curriculum for school groups.
For more information on the garden and specific programing associated with it, contact Erin Parker at 228.475.0825 Ext 4 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org