Benefits of the Nature-Based Outdoor Play Area: Research demonstrates that children engage more with natural materials versus man-made ones, and that children, especially those who are at-risk, experience a deficit of natural outdoor experiences in their lives. The nature-based play area facilitates better social and physical development in the children; improves fitness and motor skills; supports creativity and imaginative play; reduces stress; and creates a feeling of empathy for nature.

We chose Urban Oasis for this project because the company clearly understands the importance of nature-based play and is committed to giving all children access. Of course, we are very grateful to Colorado Shines (formerly Qualistar Colorado) for providing the funding for this important project, which goes a long way in supporting Aspen Center’s STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education focus, giving children even more opportunities to learn through play.
Features of Play Area: Urban Oasis has created a natural play area which is made of beetle kill wood. Additional props were added to enhance imaginative, creative and musical play by the children. For example, a sound board was created, consisting of tubes and paddles. Finally, a shade sail was installed to protect children from the elements when necessary and provide much-needed shade during the warmer months.


“Exposing children – particularly those from lower income households – to more play outside, more interaction with the natural world, and more ways to creatively and imaginatively interact with their environment, especially the natural environment, is a critical piece of early childhood education,” explains our Director.