In response to the growing body of evidence presented in Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods:  Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, there is wide-spread recognition that children benefit in a variety of ways from unstructured play in a natural setting – not just physically, but also in terms of cognitive development, mental health and social development. This awareness has led to the development of Nature Playscapes, intended to allow groups of children to experience the natural world, as it has been experienced by generations before them, in a safe, public setting.  In Cincinnati, we have what is perhaps the foremost example in the country of a Nature Playscape at the Cincinnati Nature Center.  Here, children are allowed to play “with nature”, not just “in nature”, resulting in joyful exploration, discovery, creative play and social interaction.  As a result, children tend to spend more time in physical activity while learning valuable skills in the process.  Leave No Child Inside, through our community outreach efforts, is working to raise awareness of these spaces, encouraging schools and child care centers throughout our region to incorporate them into their facilities.  You can help us spread the word!  Learn more about the benefits of Nature Playscapes  and make your own child’s school or care center aware of them.   A video produced by our counterparts in Central Ohio explains clearly the advantages of natural play: