13 3 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

WBIR - A new playground in East Tennessee will double as a play place for children and a lab for researchers.

On Saturday, UT faculty and community volunteers worked together to install something called a "natural playground" at the North Head Start Center. The effort is part of the "Partners through Playgrounds" project, a study led by a UT professor on how urban playscapes affect children's play styles. This study is one of the first of its kind in the United States. Back in 2012 another UT professor found there was a correlation between what a playground looks like and how active a child is while playing there.

UT Professor Mary Jane Moran says children tend to be more active while playing on "natural playgrounds".

"The reason for this is that children's play styles tend to change when you put them in more natural environments, and some recent research by my colleague Dawn Coe suggests that their activity levels go up," said Moran.

She also says the group hopes to build four playgrounds in all.

Read or Share this story: http://on.wbir.com/1pnVl6Y