Photo of Kids playing around a tree at Finns Reserve

Nature play is a term used to describe the creation of simple play opportunities in the natural environment. We want to encourage children and parents to see the natural environment as a place to enjoy, play, imagine, relax and explore. Children of all ages and abilities can experience unstructured nature play.

Research has shown that play in nature is significant for children’s health, wellbeing and development. Spending time in nature can improve physical and mental wellbeing, reduces stress, promote creativity and is a welcome alternative to a fast paced technologically focused world.

Nature Play in Manningham

Manningham is fortunate to have one of the largest networks of Open Space and Parks in metropolitan Melbourne.

Covering 17 per cent of the municipality and ranging from large natural areas to intimate pocket parks, these open spaces provide a variety of unstructured play opportunities for children and families, and are just waiting for you to explore.

These include:

Find more Parks and Playgrounds in Manningham.

Things to do for 0 - 2 years

Nature is one of the best places to begin your child's sensory learning experiences. The outdoors provides unlimited stimulation for babies and children and they will benefit from being outside as much as older children, or adults. Here are some ideas of how you can spend more time in nature:

  • Get up close to plants or point them out while walking outside
  • Talk about and touch the seeds, gumnut pods and flowers
  • Let babies and toddlers feel different textures with their hands and feet
  • Give babies and toddlers time to explore and focus on nature
  • Float flowers, leaves and feathers in puddles or shallow water
  • Let babies try nature experiences several times to get used to different textures e.g. sand, bark and sticks
  • Watch and listen to the birds
  • Dress in waterproof clothing and have short visits in gentle rain
  • Let young children wear gumboots and splash and stomp in puddles

Things to do for 3 - 5 years

As your child grows and develops, nature gets even more exciting as they want to explore and challenge themselves even further. Why not try the following next time you're out in nature:

  • Make a cubby house using large branches and decorate using leaves and sticks
  • Climbing and balancing on small and big logs
  • Explore the bush
  • Rolling down a hill
  • Collecting fallen leaves
  • Jump and play in a muddy puddle
  • Make mud pies and decorate using stones, sticks and flowers
  • Have a treasure hunt
  • See how high you can build a tower of sticks or stones before it falls down
  • Dig a hole and make a ‘witches potion’ from water and found nature: sticks , leaves, feathers
  • Lie on your back and watch the clouds, what shapes can you see?