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Nature play is an important part of a child’s development, and it is especially important for babies and toddlers. It is a form of play that encourages exploration and discovery of the natural world, and it has been proven to have numerous physical, cognitive, and social benefits for children of all ages.

Research has shown that infants and toddlers who are exposed to natural play environments are better able to process sensory information and are better able to focus and pay attention. Nature play also provides a great opportunity for physical activity and exploration. Young children can explore the outdoors, climb, jump and run in a safe and exciting environment while babies and toddlers can enjoy outdoor tummy time, crawling on grass, watching leaves and branches move and listening to the birds. All of these activities can help develop muscle strength and coordination, as well as balance and agility.

Physical Benefits – Nature play helps babies and toddlers develop their gross motor skills, such as crawling, walking and running. It also encourages them to use their fine motor skills, such as picking up small objects, throwing a ball and crawling. Nature play also provides a safe environment for physical activity, which is important for physical development.

Cognitive Benefits – Nature play encourages children to explore and learn about the world around them. Through nature play, babies and toddlers are able to learn about different animals, plants and the environment. This helps them build an appreciation for nature, as well as develop their problem-solving skills. It also helps them build a better understanding of cause and effect from the crunching of a leaf, to the tapping of a stick, and the throwing of a rock.

Social BenefitsNature play provides an opportunity for children to interact with each other. Playing with other children in a natural setting helps babies and toddlers develop social skills, such as sharing, taking turns and cooperative play. Nature play also helps them learn to follow rules, respect others and be aware of their surroundings.

Improves Immunity – Did you know that eating dirt can help build immunity? Babies and toddlers are constantly picking things up from the ground and putting them in their mouths. Research has shown that eating a little bit of dirt here and there can actually allow the immune system to practise responses for protection, and teach the immature immune response on what is best to be ignored. So eating dirt (or other mysteries babies find outside) allows them to explore their environment and improve their immune systems responses. Always keep an eye on them and ensure they aren’t putting anything in their mouth that could be harmful or a choking hazard.

toddler eating dirt

Overall, nature play is an important part of a child’s development. It helps babies and toddlers learn and grow in a safe, stimulating environment. By providing these physical, cognitive and social benefits, nature play helps babies and toddlers reach their full potential.


  • Holly Dellaca-Daniel

    Holly is a multimedia intern who strives to improve skills and explore new ideas. She grew up travelling around rural Western Australia and Queensland with her family and has recently become an auntie to her sister’s baby, Bowie. In her free time, Holly enjoys spending time with her family and catching up with friends online located around the world. She also does art on the side as a hobby and wants to share positivity through her art.