Research

Check out some of the research on the benefits of unstructured outdoor play. We'll continue to add new articles so it's worth coming back to this page from time to time!

Digital Wellbeing Literature Review

6 Apr 2021

Navigating children’s safe passage through the digital world is one of the great challenges of modern parenthood – and it is a challenge undertaken, largely, without a roadmap. How much time should kids spend on devices? What does healthy device usage look like? What are the impacts of g…

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The Playtime Matters Report

29 Apr 2019

The Playtime Matters report brings together both previous research and new findings that make the case for playtimes being a key part of the school day. It shows that outdoor play at school helps develop healthy, curious and active kids who are better connected to their environment. It brings togeth…

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Muddy Hands Australia Report

1 Nov 2018

This new report, written to support Australia’s Outdoor Classroom Day this 1st November, sets out not only a snapshot report on how much more playtime Australian children are getting compared to everyone else, but also an overview of why outdoor learning and play is so very important……

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Influence of the day care, home and neighbourhood environment on young children's physical activity and health: protocol for the PLAYCE observational study.

9 Apr 2018

Introduction  The early years are a critical period in a child's health and development, yet most preschool children fail to meet physical activity guidelines. Outside of the home and neighbourhood, children spend a large proportion of time within early childhood education and care (ECEC…

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Children’s Play and Independent Mobility in 2020: Results from the British Children’s Play Survey

21 Apr 2021

Abstract The British Children’s Play Survey was conducted in April 2020 with a nationally representative sample of 1919 parents/caregivers with a child aged 5–11 years. Respondents completed a range of measures focused on children’s play, independent mobility and adult tolerance…

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How outdoor science education can help girls stay engaged with science

9 Apr 2021

ABSTRACT Although gender gaps associated with K-12 science achievement have narrowed significantly, gaps in science engagement and efficacy in childhood likely explain why women remain underrepresented in science careers. Early intervention programs may address root causes of gender gaps in scien…

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Playworlds as an evidenced-based model of practice for the intentional teaching of executive functions

5 Mar 2021

ABSTRACT Expectations for increased conceptual outcomes in the early childhood education sector have foregrounded a need for more evidenced-based practice in support of children’s play. One such avenue for researching models of play practices that support cognitive outcomes is to study the…

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Physical activity and screen time among youth with autism: A longitudinal analysis from 9 to 18 years

7 Jan 2021

To date, studies using cross-sectional methodologies make up a majority of the literature surrounding children with autism spectrum disorders and participation in physical activity and screen time. Longitudinal studies are needed to examine how physical activity and screen time behaviors co-develop…

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Results from an 18 country cross-sectional study examining experiences of nature for people with common mental health disorders

10 Dec 2020

Abstract Exposure to natural environments is associated with a lower risk of common mental health disorders (CMDs), such as depression and anxiety, but we know little about nature-related motivations, practices and experiences of those already experiencing CMDs. We used data from an 18-country su…

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Longitudinal Association Between Participation in Organised Sport and Psychosocial Development in Early Childhood

12 Nov 2020

Objective To explore whether the associations between developmental delays in the first year of life and psychosocial outcomes in preschool children are affected by participation in organised sport. Study design Data were obtained from the infant cohort of the Growing Up in Ireland&nbs…

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