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Tiny Hearts and Hands: Nature Sensory Play Promotes Infant Mental Health

The 12th chapter in Nature-based Play & Expressive Therapies is co-authored by our Chief Editor Dr. Janet Courtney and Ashley Lingerfelt, LPC titled Tiny Hearts and Hands: Nature Sensory Play Promotes Infant Mental Health. This chapter looks at the importance of early contact with nature to promote infant mental health through early discovery and infant play therapy approaches. The research asserts that 80% of a child’s brain is formulated by age 3 years so it is supported that children need a wide range of sensory experiences in order to develop healthy a brain. Nature-play provides infants and their caregivers a chance for direct sensory experiences through sights, touches, smells, and sounds. At this same time, they are developing their essential vestibular and proprioceptive senses. The authors provide a case study that includes a mother and her 18-month-old daughter who are introduced to some nature-based interventions appropriate for very young children.

Ashley S. Lingerfelt, LPC specializes in infant, early childhood, and perinatal mental health. She is the clinical director and founder of Playtime Therapy of Georgia, LLC, and serves on the board of directors for the Georgia Birth Network and the Georgia Chapter of Postpartum Support International. Learn more about her work RIGHT HERE.

Dr. Janet Courtney, founder of FirstPlay® Therapy and Chief Editor of this book is a leader, trainer, mentor and widely known published author and expert supporting child and family therapists throughout the world. author of “Healing Child Trauma Through Expressive & Play Therapies: Art, Nature, Storytelling Body & Mindfulness,” and Editor of, “Infant Play Therapy: Foundations, Models, Programs and Practice,” and “Touch in Child Counseling and Play Therapy: An Ethical and Clinical Guide.” She has been an Adjunct Professor at Barry University School of Social Work, Miami, FL since 1997.

Jump over to our HOME PAGE and purchase your very own copy of our book Nature-based Play & Expressive Therapies and be sure to get your downloadable copy of our interventions packet.

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