Children and Nature – Organisations and Research

Children and Nature – Organisations

There are a growing number of organisations around the world which encourage children to spend more time outside interacting with nature.  Some, like Scouts and Girl Guides, are well known around the world and have been around for many years.  Others, such as Nature Play, have been formed in more recent times specifically to address the problem of children spending less time outdoors than previous generations.  Some organisations have a strong focus on education for environmental sustainability and conservation.  The following links will take you to these organisations who believe in strengthening the connections between children and nature.

children and nature, nature crafts

Forest Schools Assoc (UK)

The Wild Network (UK)

Children & Nature Network

Nature Play (Australia)

Child & Nature Alliance (Canada)

International Association of Nature Pedagogy (IANP)

Australian Association of Environmental Educators (AAEE)

Health Benefits of Nature – Research Papers, Articles & Bookschildren and nature, nature crafts

Coventry, P et al (2021) Nature-based outdoor activities for mental and physical health: Systematic review and meta analysis.

Robbins, J. (2020) Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits your Health.

Preuß, M. (2019) Low Childhood Nature Exposure is Associated with Worse Mental Health in Adulthood

Astell-Burt, T (2019) Increasing Tree Cover for Community Mental Health

Williams, F. (2017) The Nature Fix: Why Nature makes us happier, healthier and more creative.

Malone, K. & Waite, S. (2016) Student Outcomes & Natural Schooling. Plymouth: Plymouth University

Moss, S. (2012) Natural Childhood Report. National Trust UK.

Townsend, M (2010) Beyond Blue to Green.- The health benefits of nature

Selhub, E & Logan, A (2012) Your Brain on Nature

Berger, R (2017) Nature Therapy. Incorporating Nature into Arts Therapy

Berger, R & Lahad, M (2008) A Safe Place: ways in which nature, play and creativity can help children cope with stress and crisis

Marcus, C & Sach ,N (2013 )Therapeutic Landscapes An Evidence-Based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces

Breyer, M. (2017) You can boost happiness by simply observing nature

Martin, L. et al (2020) Nature contact, nature connectedness and associations with health, wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviours

Black, J. (2020) 12 Scientific Benefits of Being Outdoors

Nature Crafts and Environmental Awareness

Beer, T. et al (2018) Running Wild: Engaging and Empowering Future custodians of place through creative nature-based play.

Inwood, H. & Sharpe, J. (2018) Growing a garden-based approach to art aducation

Schneller, A.J. et al (2021) Outcomes of art-based environmental education in the Hudson River Watershed

MacEachren, Z (2020) Crafting as a Practice of Relating to the Natural World

Health Benefits of Crafting

Smith, I (2019) Four reasons craft is good for your mental health

Luckman, S. (2018). How craft is good for our health.

Short, A (2018) What are Health Benefits of Arts and Crafts Projects for children?

Kenning, G. (2015) “Fiddling with Threads”: Craft-based Textile Activities and Positive Well-being

Other Cool Nature Art and Craft Sites

Andy Goldsworthy – Land Artist

Michael Grab – Stone Balance Artist

Raku Inoue’s Insect Collages

Sarah Smiles Collages

James Brunt – Land Artist

Jon Foreman – Land Artist

European Land Art Festival

Conservation Ideas for Your Backyard

Insect Hotels

Frog Ponds

Secret world of Bird Baths

Bird Friendly Gardens (Australia)

Bird Friendly Gardens (USA)

Butterfly Gardening (Australia)

Butterfly Gardening (Australia) more

Butterfly Gardening (Australia) and more

Butterfly Gardening (USA)

Butterfly Gardening (USA) more

Butterfly Gardening (UK)

Nesting Boxes (Australia)

Nesting Boxes (USA)

Nesting Boxes (UK)

       Improving biodiversity (Australia)

Wildlife Gardening (UK)

No backyard?  No problem! 

Community Gardens or allotments  are great place to garden for those who don’t have access to their own land.  Most community gardens welcome children and they often have areas specifically designed for children’s gardening and nature play.  Community gardens are also a great source of materials for nature crafting – prunings, seedpods, flowers and leaves.

Children and Nature – Video

Recorded at the fabulous Ecotopia Community Gardening Conference in Sydney in 2012, during this video I talk about various activities that can be successfully carried out in a school garden, including nature crafts.


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