Live / A Developmental Perspective for Designing Play and Learning Outdoor Spaces

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Design thinking and participatory design processes ensure outdoor play and learning environments address the needs of children all ages (infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school age) and their families. Designing outdoor play and learning with a developmental lens also supports the inclusion of multi-age users, people with different abilities, interests, and cultures securing engagement over time. Evidence based design is a tool for equity and inclusion.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify at least 2 affordances that will add richness to designed outdoor environments for early childhood.
  • Summarize the concepts of environmental variety, complexity, and responsiveness of the designed space to entice young children engagement with the environment.
  • Name at least 2 strategies that support equity and experiential learning in outdoor play and learning environments.
  • In your own words, explain at least 1 theoretical concept related to creating and managing high-quality outdoor environments to support equity and experiential learning.

Nilda Cosco, PhD

Research Associate Professor, Director of Programs

Natural Learning Initiative, College of Design / NC State University

Nilda Cosco, PhD, Research Associate Professor and Director of Programs, Natural Learning Initiative (NLI), College of Design, NC State University. Dr. Cosco holds a degree in Educational Psychology, Universidad del Salvador, Argentina and a PhD in Landscape Architecture, Edinburgh University, Scotland. In 2000, she cofounded the Natural Learning Initiative at the College of Design, North Carolina with Professor Moore. She developed in 2007 the program Preventing Obesity by Design (POD). Cosco’s research focuses on the impact of the physical environment on children’s learning, health, and well-being.

Inés Palacios, PhD (Moderator)

Training & Professional Development Manager

PlayCore / CORE

Inés is responsible for promoting the value of recreation for people of all ages and abilities. She provides continuing educational opportunities, professional development, and research that supports recreation and play while generating partnerships and alliances in the field. She joined the PlayCore team in August 2013 after obtaining her PhD in Parks, Recreation and Tourism from NC State University. Before joining PlayCore, she was an instructor at NC State University in the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management Department. In addition, she has experience in event planning, program management, research, and national presentations. Inés is based out of Raleigh, NC.

This session will offer the following credits:



CEUs for a total of 1 Professional Development Hours (0.1 IACET CEU / 1.0 AIA HSW LU / 1.0 LA CES HSW PDH) will be provided to learners meeting the following requirements: 

  • Be present for 95% of the duration of the learning event; 
  • Participate in activities and discussion throughout; 
  • Complete assessment with 80% mastery of learning outcome;
  • Complete feedback/evaluation survey.

To obtain your CEU, please visit the "Event Details" tab above to complete the associated components for this event.

Instructor(s) Disclosures:

The instructors of this training webinar are employed by PlayCore and disclose an interest in attendees partnering with PlayCore on their play and recreation initiatives.

Speakers Disclosures:

The opinions of the speakers in these events do not necessarily reflect the views of PlayCore and its brands.


For any questions or to request a copy of the written transcript for this session, please contact


Designing Play Recording
03/29/2023 at 2:00 PM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 03/29/2023  |  62 minutes
03/29/2023 at 2:00 PM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 03/29/2023  |  62 minutes
Obtain your CEU Credit
Step 1: Complete Designing Play Survey
9 Questions
Step 2: Take Designing Play Quiz
10 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  80/100 points to pass
10 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  80/100 points to pass
Step 3: Download Designing Play Certificate
1.00 (0.1 IACET CEU / 1.0 AIA HSW LU / 1.0 LA CES HSW PDH) credit  |  Certificate available
1.00 (0.1 IACET CEU / 1.0 AIA HSW LU / 1.0 LA CES HSW PDH) credit  |  Certificate available