A crucial function of education programming in public gardens is generating relationships between children and nature. We have a unique opportunity to personalize the horticultural aspects of our institutions. In this panel workshop, three practitioners will offer their experiences of creating play-based outdoor initiatives. The aim of each is to engage children and families, foster curiosity and discovery, and ultimately promote lifelong relationships with nature. Each initiative strives to empower visitors to continue their exploration of nature beyond the walls of our gardens, incorporating nature-play at homes, neighborhoods, schools, and parks.
After the panel presentation, we will invite attendees to participate in small groups with three directives: personally engage in aspects of nature-play via manipulatives offered by presenters, brainstorm ways to adapt the models presented to their own institutional needs, and share play-inspired initiatives at home organizations with each other and the entire audience. We will end by opening the floor for questions.