Is This Your Year To Embrace Nature Play?

In today’s tech-focused world, it’s easy to take our natural surroundings for granted. 

Our tamariki grow up exploring virtual environments more than natural ones. And while the digital age has a lot to offer, these changes are often more detrimental than beneficial.

Research shows that time spent in nature is vital for children. Outdoor nature play has a huge, undeniable range of benefits for health and wellbeing. 

The nature play movement is growing in New Zealand, and this year, Little Kiwis Nature Play is proud to host the Nature Play Conference 2022 to help empower and inspire educators to integrate outdoor exploration into their daily routines.

So let’s dive into the benefits of nature play and how you can use this fantastic learning tool in your centre or school.

Is This Your Year To Embrace Nature Play?

The Benefits Of Nature Play For Children

In just a few decades, the nature of play for children has changed dramatically. We only had a handful of television channels a generation ago, streets were quiet and computers weren’t found in every household. Children spent their free time playing outdoors and discovering the world instead of sitting motionless glued to a device.

Now, it’s a vastly different story. Screen time is far more common than green time, and our tamariki are suffering as a result of missing out on time in the great outdoors.

Research shows that getting children off devices and out amongst nature has a wide range of mental and physical benefits. Here are just some of the most important benefits of nature play:

  • Encourages more physical activity, which improves fitness, metabolic and bone health.
  • Promotes healthy habits that continue into adulthood.
  • Supports more complex and constructive play and learning activities. 
  • Builds independence and self-esteem.
  • Develops creativity, problem-solving, and attention skills.
  • Enhances cognitive development.
  • Supports emotional wellbeing and helps reduce stress, anxiety, depression and aggression.
  • Builds social and personal skills such as teamwork, leadership and inclusion.
  • Encourages a connection with nature and a sense of relatedness to the natural world.

There are many contributing factors and screen time is not the enemy; however, it must be balanced. We need to take action to reconnect children with the mental and physical benefits of nature play. We must take children outside and encourage them to connect with nature – and each other – and that’s why we’re so passionate about nature play.

Introducing The Nature Play Conference

The nature play movement is growing here in Aotearoa, and with no shortage of green and blue spaces, it’s the ideal environment to explore with our tamariki.

Little Kiwis Nature Play is proud to once again host the Nature Play Conference in 2022. This immersive, two-day nature education event will teach, inspire, and motivate you as you learn practical tools and resources to confidently incorporate nature play into your daily routines.

Here’s the lowdown:

The content:

Over one or two days, you’ll attend a range of talks and workshops hosted by like-minded New Zealanders who will share their experience, ideas, and passion with you. Our speakers will be exploring our children’s connection to their local environment through conversation and interaction.

Workshops range from exploring the neurobiology of sensory processing and understanding play fighting to discovering insects, tikanaga for weaving, playing with knives, storytelling through games, and much, much more.

The subject matter is diverse, captivating, enriching, and rewarding.

The benefits:

After two days of connecting with a wide range of nature play experts, you will gain a wealth of knowledge and confidence about using nature as a teacher. 

Not only will you meet some fantastic new people who are as passionate about nature play as you are, but you’ll discover ways to nurture kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of your local nature spaces, learn how to incorporate a te ao Māori perspective into nature play, and develop practical tools and resources to incorporate nature play into your daily routines.

Unlike other conferences where you often walk away feeling overloaded with information, the Nature Play Conference will provide you with practical takeaways and plenty of inspiration. You’ll wind up the two days feeling motivated and full of ideas on what to do with what you’ve learned.

The info:
  • Friday 18 March 2022 – Mt Pleasant Community Centre in Christchurch
  • Saturday 19 March 2022 (Optional Day 2 Workshops) – Little Kiwis Bush Kindy, Christchurch

Friday Only – 18th March 2022

  • EARLYBIRD Rate $210
  • Standard Rate $260
  • Student Rate $100

Friday 18th and Saturday 19th 2022

  • Two Day EARLYBIRD Rate $390
  • Two Day Standard Rate $440
  • Student Rate $200

Registration includes lunch, morning and afternoon tea. EARLYBIRD rate valid till 18th February 2022.

The Nature Play Conference will go ahead regardless of what is happening in the world. We can revert to online/virtual talks and workshops rather than in-person attendance if need be. 

For more in-depth information on the conference, including speakers and workshop details, and registration, visit the dedicated website below:


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