A study completed in 2014 by UBC observed children playing in their care centre play space before and after the space was upgraded with nature play elements.
Before the intervention children were seen to be displaying depressive behaviours and where dependent on teachers interaction. The interventions were simple and included some sand, brick and bamboo. These elements drastically improved play outcomes including increased levels of imaginative play and reduce symptoms of depression. Children were significantly less dependent on their teachers’ interaction during play.
“Depressive symptoms like looking sad or not smiling much went down after the modifications. The videos showed kids much more engaged in play and engaged in positive ways with each other,” said co-researcher Mariana Brussoni, an associate professor in UBC’s school of population and public health and paediatrics, and a scientist at the Child & Family Research Institute at B.C. Children’s Hospital.
Image by Nature Play WA