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Playful pathways offer benefits that may not be achieved by other means.
Playcore Logo
PlayCore helps build stronger communities around the world by advancing play through research, education, and partnerships. The company infuses this learninginto its complete family of brands – GameTime, UltraSite, UltraShelter, UltraPlay,GT Grandstands, Snug Play USA, Play & Park Structures, TotTurf, Everlast Climbing, and Swing-N-Slide. PlayCore combines best-in-class planning and education programs with the most comprehensive array of recreation products available to create play solutions that match the unique needs of each community served.
Natural Learning Initiative Logo
The Natural Learning Initiative
The purpose of the Natural Learning Initiative is to promote the importance of the natural environment in the daily experience of all children, through environmental design, action research, education, and dissemination of information. The long-term goal is to create environments for healthy human development and a healthy biosphere for generations to come.

The mission of the Natural Learning Initiative is to help communities create stimulating places for play, learning, and environmental education—environments that recognize human dependence on the natural world. The Initiative collaborates with landscape architects, designers, planners, educators, play leaders, environmental educators, politicians, industry, and all professionals working for and with children.

Increasing numbers of children are losing contact with the natural world. Reasons include institutions with outdoor spaces that do not support children's developmental needs; the rapid growth of domestic air-conditioning since the 1950s; apprehensive parents who keep their children close to home; state-mandated curricula that do not allow time for study outdoors; and the overly-structured, harried lifestyle of many children today. Evidence-based design can make a difference in the life of children and families by creating healthy natural environments.

The Natural Learning Initiative works with a variety of clients in the nonformal and formal sector of education. They include:
  • Schools and school systems (public and independent)
  • Parks and recreation systems
  • Public and private childcare centers
  • Afterschool programs
  • Federal, state, county, and municipal governments
  • Residential developers committed to children's quality of life
  • Community institutions that run children's programs, such as special education programs, zoos, botanical gardens, children’s museums, and environmental centers.
The Natural Learning Initiative is a Research and Design Assistance Program of the College of Design, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA.
American Trails Logo
American Trails
American Trails is the only national, nonprofit organization working on behalf of all trail interests, including hiking, bicycling, mountain biking, horseback riding, water trails, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, trail motorcycling, ATVs, snowmobiling and four-wheeling. American Trails members want to create and protect America's network of interconnected trails.

We support local, regional, and long-distance trails and greenways, whether they be in backcountry, rural or urban areas. Our goal is to support America's trails by finding common ground and promoting cooperation among all trail interests. Since our formation in 1988 we've been involved in everything from training trails advocates to increasing accessible trail opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Program developed in partnership with:
PlayCore Natural Learning Initiative
© 2010 PlayCore, Inc. and Natural Learning Initiative,College of Design,
NC State University.
All rights reserved.
Pathways for Play is a trademark of PlayCore.
Learning cognitive skills
The “richness and novelty” of being outdoors stimulates brain development.
Building self-esteem
Children who spend time playing outside are more likely to take risks, seek adventure, develop self-confidence, and respect the value of nature.
Integrating the senses
Sensory integration, which is supported by children’s experience in multi-sensory rich environments, is critical to healthy child development.
Learning to live together
Pathway linear forms allow children to “go on adventures” together in their local area.
Imagining a new world
At a time when creativity of American children is in decline, the need has never been greater to develop imagination and creativity, which are regarded as primary economic drivers in today’s rapidly changing world.
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social capital
can be stimulated when playful pathways connect neighborhoods to local destinations, such as parks, that attract a mix of residents who can hang out and get to know each other.