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!

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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Too much screen time may double cancer, mortality risk of already unhealthy people

29 May 2018

Associations of discretionary screen time with mortality, cardiovascular disease and cancer are attenuated by strength, fitness and physical activity: findings from the UK Biobank study Background Discretionary screen time (time spent viewing a television or computer screen during leisure time…

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Ultra-clean homes could trigger childhood leukaemia - a causal mechanism for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

23 May 2018

In this Review, I present evidence supporting a multifactorial causation of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), a major subtype of paediatric cancer. ALL evolves in two discrete steps. First, in utero initiation by fusion gene formation or hyperdiploidy generates a covert, pre-leukaemic c…

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Physical Activity and Incident Depression: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies

15 May 2018

Objective: The authors examined the prospective relationship between physical activity and incident depression and explored potential moderators. Method: Prospective cohort studies evaluating incident depression were searched from database inception through Oct. 18, 2017, on PubMed, PsycINF…

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Vegetation diversity protects against childhood asthma: results from a large New Zealand birth cohort

8 May 2018

We assessed the association between the natural environment and asthma in 49,956 New Zealand children born in 1998 and followed up until 2016 using routinely collected data. Children who lived in greener areas, as measured by the normalized difference vegetation index, were less likely to be asthmat…

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Will they leave what they find? The efficacy of a Leave No Trace education program for youth.

9 Apr 2018

The authors explored the influences of a youth-focused Leave No Trace educational program on participants’ attitudes, behaviors, and nature connectedness. The study employed an experimental, equivalent control-group design and included survey and direct observation measures. Pretest and postte…

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Green writing: the influence of natural spaces on primary students’ poetic writing in the UK and Australia

15 Mar 2018

This paper draws on findings of comparative international research on students’ poetic writing about the natural environment in the context of the classroom and a naturalistic setting. The study involved 97, nine- to 10-year-olds in four classes: two classes were in an English primary school w…

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The Association between Lifelong Greenspace Exposure and 3-Dimensional Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Barcelona Schoolchildren

12 Mar 2018

BACKGROUND: Proponents of the biophilia hypothesis believe that contact with nature, including green spaces, has a crucial role in brain development in children. Currently, however, we are not aware of evidence linking such exposure with potential effects on brain structure. OBJECTIVE: We d…

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An investigation into the effect of play-based instruction on the development of play skills and oral language.

27 Feb 2018

The current study investigated the influence of a play-based curriculum on the development of pretend play skills and oral language in children attending their first year of formal schooling. In this quasi-experimental design, two groups of children were followed longitudinally across the first 6&th…

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Embracing complexity: Rethinking the relation between play and learning: Comment on Lillard et al. (2013).

27 Feb 2018

Lillard et al. (2013) concluded that pretend play is not causally related to child outcomes and charged that the field is subject to a play ethos, whereby research is tainted by a bias to find positive effects of play on child development. In this commentary, we embrace their call for a more solidly…

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