The role of trees for suburban children

Taina Hannele Laaksoharju, Taina Helena Kaivola, Leena Kaarina Linden, Erja Hannele Rappe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Contact with nature is vital to all people. However, children’s opportunities to real natural experiences are particularly diminished in urban areas. In this study, we explored what was the role and meaning of trees for 7- to 10-year-old children in their free time. Research methods included participatory action research, non-participatory observation, and informal interviews in a garden summer camp. Results showed that the children used trees to fulfill their needs: to show or to improve their competence, and to relax and rest. In addition, they expressed affection by personalizing trees in a devotional way, and nature inspired children’s imagination with various materials. According to our results, children use trees in ways which benefit their development. City planners and educators should take into account the affordances that trees provide for children when planning and renovating living areas.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Second International Symposium on Horticulture in Europe
EditorsJ.-C. Mauget, S. Godet
Number of pages5
Place of PublicationLeuven
PublisherInternational Society for Horticultural Science, ISHS
Publication dateSep 2015
ISBN (Print)978-94-62610-96-5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventInternational Symposium on Horticulture in Europe - Angers, France
Duration: 1 Jul 20125 Jul 2012
Conference number: 2

Publication series

NameActa Horticulturae
ISSN (Print)0567-7572
ISSN (Electronic)2406-6168

Fields of Science

  • 415 Other agricultural sciences
  • free time activities
  • garden camp
  • nature play

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