Hi – I’m Rusty and I’m glad you are here. I am excited to help you with your dreams of natural playscapes and adventures into risky play!

I am a playspace designer who has worked for nearly 30 years with hundreds of school and community leaders to design and build beautiful outdoor environments for children. I love helping folks like you create playscapes that celebrate the wonder of nature and support children’s right to play!

Rusty's Latest Book

Adventures in Risky Play goes to the heart of risk-taking and children. As parents and educators working with young children, we all have boundaries and feelings around what risky play should be allowed. Rusty Keeler invites us to examine the cage of boundaries that we have created for ourselves and our children.

New Online Courses!

NATURAL PLAYSCAPE DESIGN is the latest online offer from Rusty Keeler. Join Rusty for this six-part course that will take you deep into the world of Natural Playscape Design.


I have been fortunate to hear Rusty speak at conferences three times, and am grateful we were able to have him as the keynote for our Annual Conference this April. In a world where worrying and anxiety are the norm, his work teaches us each to find our own comfort level with allowing children to take risks. I have observed participants move through their initial hesitations and fears as he speaks, from murmurs at the start to sharing fond memories of their own risky childhood play by the end. All children deserve the space to explore the world on their own terms and Rusty’s work exemplifies that.

NYAEYC Staff Member

my services

Do you need help with a design? Are you looking for an inspiring keynote presentation? Want to take a workshop or online course? Or maybe you need some nature play products for your yard? This is the place!

Beauty of Play

Where did you play as a child? In nature? In vacant lots? On the street? In your backyard? Were you a free range kid? All children deserve great places to play. Let’s create them for today’s children!

Nature play

Living willow huts, hills, sand and water play, trees, gardens, paths, herbs, butterflies, hidey nooks and more — all with a variety of sounds, smells, textures and tastes.

Adventure play

Rough and tumble landscapes that support open-ended, child-directed free play with loose materials and endless possibilities for children to create their own play, get messy, and take risks!

risky Play

Risk-taking is essential for the healthy development of children’s minds, bodies and spirits  — it’s how they learn and grow! It’s important for adults to take deep breaths and create opportunities for risky play.


Take a look at some of my past projects  to get an idea for how I can help you!

I’ve spent a lot of time designing and building natural playscapes with excited communities over the years. I love it. Take a look at some of the projects I’ve worked on. You can do it too!

Tour a playscape

Spend a few minutes in this park-like preschool playscape designed by Rusty and community-built with Rusty’s guidance. A sweet space!

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