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Title:Child's play: playgrounds and child development
Author(s):Zimbovsky, Shimon
Advisor(s):Sullivan, William C.
Department / Program:Landscape Architecture
Discipline:Landscape Architecture
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):nature-based playgrounds
traditional playgrounds
children's play
play observations
social play, cognitive play
behavior mapping.
Abstract:Nature‐based play environments refer to children’s playgrounds that are designed with an abundance of natural elements and materials. As evident in the work of numerous design firms throughout the United States and Europe, there is a growing interest in nature‐based playgrounds in part because they are seen as supporting high levels of social and cognitive play. Multiple studies demonstrate the importance of play in children’s social and cognitive development and point to the play environment as a primary factor in stimulating or inhibiting developmental benefits. What we do not know, however, is the extent to which the purported benefits of nature‐based play environments are actually realized. Are children in nature‐based play settings engaging in more high‐level social and cognitive play than children in similar, more traditional play settings? Based on observations of children’s play patterns in traditional and nature‐based playgrounds and on surveys completed by the same children’s teachers, I found no measurable differences in social play between the two types of playgrounds. With respect to cognitive play, however, I found higher levels of exploration and engagement in games with rules, two important measures of cognitive development, in nature‐base playgrounds compared to traditional playgrounds.
Issue Date:2013-05-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Shimon Zimbovsky
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-24
Date Deposited:2013-05

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