Play + Nature + Art = Healthy Development



Learn Green Conference November 16, 2015

Susan Caruso, Founder/Director Sunflower Creative Arts

227 N Dixie Blvd, Delray Beach FL 33444


Welcome and introductions

About Sunflower:

At Sunflower Creative Arts we firmly believe that hands-on learning experiences through Play, Nature and the Arts are absolutely essential for healthy human development.

Our Pillars:

Respect for the Individual, Learning through hands-on experience, Learning within Community.



“The struggle of maturity is to recover the seriousness of a child at play.”

Friedrich Neitzsche

  • Defining Play
  • Our childhood play experiences
  • Comparison with todays childhood

Activities- Pass the Clap, Ro Sham Bo



“To plant miracles of nature in our children is to give them an unflagging light by which they can one day find their way.”

From Harvest by Gary Ferguson (see Resources)

  • Immersion in nature
  • Sense of place. Where are the rough edges?
  • School Children- Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Club

Activity- Black Socks



“Put something silly in the world that ain’t been there before.”

Shel Silverstein

  • Are you an artist? A musician? An improviser?
  • Art as a journey, not a destination. What is process oriented art?
  • Art speaks to our humanity and has the power for self-expression and healing as nothing else in times of tragedy.

Activities: Movers and Shakers, Pillars, Yes!


What is your take-away from today’s session?

Actions: What steps will you take to bring more Play, Nature and Art into your life and the lives of all children?

Freedom = Time, Space & Ownership

News articles about Play + Nature + Art

Children & Nature Network

​New York Times
​A Collaboration Between the US Play Coalition and The Association of Childhood Education



Books, websites, blogs, videos and more!

Amazon Smile Associate book links

When you shop at AmazonSmile and select Sunflower Creative Arts from the list of eligible nonprofits, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Sunflower Creative Arts Inc. Bookmark the link and support us every time you shop.


Last Child in the Woods – Richard Louv 2008

The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age – Richard Louv 2012

The Great Outdoors – M.S. Rivkin 1995, revised edition 2014

The Geography of Childhood – Nabhan & Trimble 1994

Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature – Young, Haas, McGown (especially good for older children)

Natural Playscapes – Rusty Keeler 2008

Asphalt to Ecosystems – Sharon Gamson Danks 2010

The Green Hour – Todd Christopher 2010

Let’s Go Outside – Jennifer Ward 2009 Ages 8-12

I Love Dirt – Jennifer Ward Ages 4-8

Roots & Shoots – Jane Goodall’s Global Kids Activist club

The Possibility of Something Really Important Happening – blog by Susan Caruso (experiential learning in nature) – Founded by Richard Louv. Research, resources, networking, personal and community action, policy and education. Read the blog- Harvest. A Meditation on the Nature of Grief by Gary Ferguson June 8, 2008 – Nature, Science and Reading. Weekly lesson plans linking Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards to picture books and activities.

Project Budburst sponsored by the National Science Foundation- People watching plants. Contributing to research. 

The Learning Grounds Guide for Schools – step by step road map to help you start your school ground


Together We’re Better – Bev Bos 1990

Kids Take the Stage – Peterson and O’Connor 1997

Theater Games for the Classroom – Viola Spolin 1986

Why Improv? A small sampling of the many benefits of Improv.

The Possibility of Something Really Important Happening – blog by Susan Caruso (teaching, improvisation and learning)

“10 Ways to have a more creative beach trip” (Blog post)

“Twenty Ways to Take Art Outside” – Turning waste into wonder- best loose parts source! – a great source for art supplies

Play + Nature + Art

Sunflower on Social Media

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♥♥♥ Shared Wisdom ♥♥♥

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