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Greening of Daycare Yards with Biodiverse Materials Affords Well-Being, Play and Environmental Relationships

Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Niemenkatu 73, FIN-15140 Lahti, Finland
Multidimensional Tourism Institute, University of Lapland, Viirinkankaantie 1, FIN-96300 Rovaniemi, Finland
Faculty of Built Environment, Tampere University, Korkeakoulunkatu 5, FIN-33014 Tampere, Finland
Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, Tampere University, Arvo Ylpön katu 34, FIN-33520 Tampere, Finland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
The ADELE research group: Mira Grönroos, Nan Hui, Olli H. Laitinen, Raul Kalvo, Noora Nurminen, Sami Oikarinen, Anirudra Parajuli, Riikka Puhakka, Marja I. Roslund, Laura Soininen, Heli K. Vari, Guoyong Yan, Juho Rajaniemi, Heikki Hyöty, Aki Sinkkonen.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(16), 2948;
Received: 27 June 2019 / Revised: 13 August 2019 / Accepted: 13 August 2019 / Published: 16 August 2019
PDF [1018 KB, uploaded 16 August 2019]


Nature contacts are recognized as positively contributing to humans’ health and well-being. Although there have been projects to green daycare or schoolyards, yard greening and microbial biodiversity have never been studied simultaneously. We asked whether simultaneously increasing biodiversity exposure and greening urban daycare yards affects 3–5 years-old children’s physical activity and play, their environmental relationships, and their perceived well-being. For transforming six daycare yards in Finland, we used a forest floor with high biodiversity, sod, peat blocks, and planters for vegetable and flower growing. We used qualitative interview and survey-based data collected from the daycare personnel and parents to analyze how green yards encourage children’s engagement with their everyday life-worlds. We identified the functional possibilities provided by the yards and the dynamic aspects related to the greening. Green, biodiverse yards were considered safe, and inspired children’s play, diversified their activities, and increased physical activity. The greenery offered embodied experiences of nature and provided the children with multi-sensory exploration and diverse learning situations. The dynamic and emotional ways of engaging with the natural environment increased their well-being. The activities related to caring for the yards and exploring them promoted the development of environmental relationships. The results can be used for designing health-enhancing yards View Full-Text
Keywords: affordance; children; well-being; physical activity; environmental relationship; green space; biodiversity affordance; children; well-being; physical activity; environmental relationship; green space; biodiversity

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Puhakka, R.; Rantala, O.; Roslund, M.I.; Rajaniemi, J.; Laitinen, O.H.; Sinkkonen, A.; the ADELE Research Group. Greening of Daycare Yards with Biodiverse Materials Affords Well-Being, Play and Environmental Relationships. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 2948.

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