Arlitt Playscape

Arlitt Playscape

We hope this will be a place where teachers, researchers, students, parents, and landscapers can collaborate together to learn about the importance of environmental play and informal STEM learning. Together, we strive to provide rich opportunities and nature experiences for pre-schoolers from both urban and rural residences.

Questions? contact:

Rachel Konerman

Playscape Coordinator

Arlitt Child and Family Research and Education Center

University of Cincinnati


Opened August 15, 2012

The new playscape is an all-natural play and exploration environment located on the UC campus. It gives Arlitt students the opportunity to discover and experiment with the natural world through their self-directed play.

See an annotated plan of the new playscape.

Playscapes in Cincinnati

This is one project from the Nature Playscape Initiative (NPI), founded by a partnership between Arlitt and the Cincinnati Nature Center. A playscape at CNC, appropriate for all ages.

About Playscapes

The problem

Children are spending far less time exploring nature than their parents did.

The solution

  • To form a partnership between CNC and UC/Arlitt to educate the community about the importance of nature play.
  • To build two nature playscapes for use by Cincinnati Nature Center and UC/Arlitt as demonstrations for the community.
  • To train local designers on natural playscape design.
  • To provide a venue for research on children's interactions with nature.
  • To ensure that every child in the Greater Cincinnati community has a place to safely play outdoors.

How do nature playscapes differ from traditional playgrounds?

  • Materials are available for open-ended creative play, not designed to be used in predetermined, specific ways.
  • Nature is the focus, not human-made elements.
  • Plants, soil and water are integrated and available to be touched and manipulated, not just observed.
  • Natural materials are used to provide opportunities for children to climb logs, dig in the dirt, build, play in water, participate in dramatic play and experience the wonders of nature.