In the spring on 2020 Lydia’s House plans to open a nature playspace, to be shared by residents of Lydia’s House, Virginia Coffey Place, Azalea Montessori and the neighborhood kids of West Norwood. We decided to go with nature play, as opposed to a more traditional “play set” because we wanted to offer our families space for more creative play. You may not know much about nature play, but it’s a big deal right now! This play concept, which immerses kids in plants, logs and rocks is a lot like playing in the woods… except in the middle of the city. Studies of kids in nature play spaces have shown that this kind of play promotes*: 

* Enhanced cognitive abilities
* Improved academic performance
* Reduced Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) symptoms
* Increased physical activity
* Improved social relations
* Improved self-discipline
* Reduced stress

We’re being mentored in this project by friends at University of Cincinnati’s Arlitt School and the design is led by Rachel Robinson Design Landscape Architecture. After months of discussions and planning, including input from our residents and visits together to local nature play areas, Rachel provided us with the basic scheme, below. If you’re interested in supporting this project please email

To learn more about nature play check out this guide to nature play and learning places:

*Source: Children and Nature Network (, Annotated Bibliographies of Research and Studies (2007)