Children and the Natural Environment - An Exploration of Adult Memories of Childhood Nature Play

Brash, Amanda
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Guelph

Many studies suggest that children are increasingly disengaged with the natural environment and in contrast to past decades spend significantly less free time exploring natural play places. Other studies suggest that from the ages of three to eight, foundational childhood memories are formed, and these memories likely influence adult beliefs regarding the natural environment. The goal of this study was to examine the character and ecology of adults’ childhood memories of nature, along with how they potentially shaped the individual as they progressed through life. Adults between the ages of eighteen to twenty-seven were interviewed using a semi structured format, and asked to fill out two questionnaires to detect themes between memories and environmental beliefs. Responses were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Results help to identify the behaviours and experiences that encourage children to engage with the natural environment, allowing play spaces to be designed in order to foster environmental connectivity.

Nature Play, Nature Memory, New Environmental Paradigm