“Nearly 80 percent of elementary grade children in the U.S. don’t have recess,” says Mischelle Brown, Founder and Chief Play Maker at Humans2Nature, Inc., a play research company. “Schools are so focused on testing our little people that there is not a lot of time to be outside.”
That realization prompted Brown to found Humans2Nature in 2015 while pursuing her MS in Positive Organization Development and Change at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). Inspired by her upbringing in the wide-open spaces of Colorado, Humans2Nature’s purpose is to educate kids about nature and collaboration through S.T.E.A.M. play. S.T.E.A.M is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.
“We provide a safe play place for kids to experiment and create in outdoor settings,” says Brown, who is studying play research at The University of New England and CWRU. “By watching the children play, we are better able to design play education programs and curriculum for kids at school.”
In 2017, Humans2Nature teamed up with PopUpAdventurePlay.org, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, the Cuyahoga Land Bank and others to put on Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds throughout the city of Cleveland. Children grades K-5 are invited to participate in fun and safe four-hour adventures. Kids design, build, and craft using their imaginations and nothing more than repurposed items. Those items may include wood pallets, hammers, nails, shovels, PVC pipe, rope, cardboard, tires, railroad ties, scrap metal, fabric, paint, rocks, sand, grass, flowers and bugs. All materials are donated and are removed after the event.
“Children self-direct their own play and are able to run, jump, swing, build, dig, dance, explore and experiment,” says Brown. “And they do it all in the name of academic growth and play research.”
The Cuyahoga Land Bank provided a vacant property for a Pop-Up Adventure Play on June 3rd in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood. Find out more information about Humans2Nature and dates of upcoming Pop-Ups.