The aim of the Nature Play: Maintenance Guide is to support local authorities, housing associations, parks and others with responsibility for introducing nature play.
Children play in many different types of wild and semi-wild places. These include pocket parks, village greens, urban and rural commons, verges, school grounds, recreation grounds, parks, country parks, field boundaries, fields, woods, forests, heaths, moors, wetlands, riversides, streams, canal towpaths, access lands and coasts and beaches. These spaces are all important in offering children and young people access to nature. Play contributes to all the Every Child Matters outcomes. Children’s Trusts and their partners are now expected to deliver excellent outdoor play opportunities for all children; planning and maintaining public space to promote communities that are more child-friendly (DCSF, 2008b). Research shows that for children to derive most benefit, these opportunities should include natural features. Offering children a non-uniform, non-standardised play environment and promoting their engagement with the natural world should be a primary aim for providers.