Generations of children may rediscover the pleasures of making mudpies and climbing trees if a new iteration of playground design comes to fruition. The National Parks Board's (NParks) new Nature Playgarden at the Hort Park, opened last week, is the first of a series of playgrounds that relies more on biophilic design. Studies show that children need outdoor play to develop crucial skills - from exploration and risk-taking to motor skills and socialisation. Doing so in a natural environment has added advantages of aiding bone development and boosting immune systems.
But it is not just children who benefit from exposure to nature. Adults too can gain from greenery and the outdoors. Studies have found that gardening benefits senior citizens as it offers light aerobic exercise, reduces stress and can even lower the risk of dementia. The growing recognition of the role nature has to play in human well-being is a touchstone for the NParks' vision for the next phase of the island's development.