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  • A Multidimensional Investigation into Children’s Optimal Experiences with Nature
  • Affect ; Behaviour ; Children ; Environment ; Social geography ; circumplex model of affect ; experience ; nature ; optimal arousal
  • This article combines a review of literature with observations from an empirical study that examined how five children aged 6 to 10 years experienced nature in a botanical garden setting with a focus on the behavioural, sensory, affective
  • and cognitive dimensions of these experiences. Visually expressive methods (sculptures, drawings, photography and sand tray pictures) enabled children to highlight aspects of their experiences in nature that were memorable and important. The theory of optimal
  • arousal and the circumplex model of affect frame the results. Experiences of nature, as communicated by the children in this study, emphasised the sensory and affective dimensions of experience. Findings also demonstrate that these children sought out
  • optimally arousing experiences that were influenced by challenge and novelty. The circumplex model of emotion and theory of optimal arousal have not been extensively applied to the study of children’s experience. The concept of interest is also explored
  • in relation to research findings. They, in combination with a committed attention to all four dimensions of experience are important conceptual tools in understanding children’s interaction with nature. This article also outlines how these findings contribute
  • to practitioners’ efforts to connect and re-connect children with nature.