Playful green planet - The RSA - RSA

Playful green planet

Playful Green Planet

Radically reconnecting children to nature and community. Cultivating children’s creativity, agency and citizenship.

Playful green planet is an ambitious intervention to transform how children foster a connection to nature and community through outdoor creative play. 

Enabled and co-created by a movement of local citizens and coalitions, Playful green planet transforms unused green spaces into ecologically thriving outdoor playrooms and classrooms that grow children’s capabilities for climate action and social activism.

Early childhood educators observed improved socialisation, problem-solving, focus, self-regulation, creativity and self-confidence, and reduced stress, boredom and injury. Outdoor play spaces are important for promoting children's wellbeing and development.

Landscapes for play: Effects of an intervention to promote nature-based risky play in early childhood centres, 2017 Brussoni, Ishikawa, Brunelle, Herrington
Playful green planet - Design for Life - The RSA

Why is outdoor playful learning important?

Nature-immersed creative play is important to children’s development and wellbeing and grows children’s climate action, social activism interests and capabilities.

Quite simply, children need nature and nature needs children who value its contribution to people, places and the planet.

Despite this, children increasingly lack connection to nature, especially in cities. This is further influenced by factors including race, disability and socioeconomic status.

Here are some UK statistics that indicate the extent of the crisis:

Pockets of innovation exist, and there is an appetite for change, but some groups and geographical areas are left out. Within our existing education system, specialists in playful learning struggle to consistently and equitably provide resources and spaces to activate children’s connection to nature.

Playful green planet - Design for Life - The RSA

Why support Playful green planet?

Our vision is to achieve the following:

  • For children: a generation of future changemakers with the capabilities and commitment to protect and regenerate their communities and the natural world.
  • For communities: early year settings, school and community cultures that foster nature and social connectedness.
  • For nature: unlocking the latent potential of green spaces to deliver positive ecological gains.
  • For policy and practice: evidence, influencing and an adaptable and scalable place-based and community-based intervention model that leads to systemic change.

Our approach is unique in the following ways:

  • Targeted: focus on urban places where nature-based creative play is limited or difficult to facilitate (places with high deprivation and low access to nature).
  • Place-based: a place-based approach, supporting local people, groups and institutions (local councils, schools, purpose-led businesses, housing associations, civil society organisations, etc) to use latent green spaces within walking proximity to early years settings, primary schools and community centres.
  • Co-created: working with children, families, educators and communities, Playful green planet stewards co-design and co-produce playful spaces and experiences that meet the ambitions of the local community.
  • Promoting play: nature-immersed playful learning experiences that unlock children’s imaginations and grow their citizenship in service of people, places and planet.
  • For everyone: supporting nature-based creative play experiences that are

    accessible, equitable and inclusive for all children, their families and communities.

  • Sustainable: Playful green planet stewards are offered tailored support, including training and advice on fundraising and financial sustainability, and are invested in seeing Playful green planet initiatives flourish for many years.
  • Nested impact: working towards nested outcomes – for children, for the community and for nature. So Playful green planet delivers outcomes that are good for children’s agency and wellbeing, for community connection and capital, and for environmental regeneration.

Help Playful green planet flourish

In partnership with the Eden Project, Bath Spa University, House of Imagination and HundrED, we’re seeking funding partners to help us realise this bold vision.

Join the conversation

Are you a Fellow? Join the Playful green planet Circle community. Help us create spaces and experiences that support nature-based creative play for young children in urban areas.

Playful green planet related content

  • Inspired by nature


    Rebecca Ford Alessandra Tombazzi Penny Hay

    Our Playful green planet team summarises a ‘lunch and learn’ at RSA House that focused on how the influence of nature can benefit a child’s development.

  • What are educators’ experiences supporting youth social action?


    Hannah Breeze

    We asked 2,000 primary educators to share their attitudes, motivations and the potential benefits of delivering youth social action in the classroom.