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!

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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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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Survey highlights motivations for time in nature

2 Nov 2020

Mental and physical health and a desire to connect with history and nature are among the motivations for time in the outdoors, according to New Zealanders who responded to a DOC survey. The New Zealanders in the Outdoors survey, undertaken before the impacts of COVID-19, between September 2018 an…

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Teens who participate in extracurriculars, get less screen time, have better mental health

2 Nov 2020

A new study from UBC researchers finds that teens, especially girls, have better mental health when they spend more time taking part in extracurricular activities, like sports and art, and less time in front of screens. The study, published in the journal Preventive Medicine, found that spen…

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Biodiversity intervention enhances immune regulation and health-associated commensal microbiota among daycare children

16 Oct 2020

Abstract As the incidence of immune-mediated diseases has increased rapidly in developed societies, there is an unmet need for novel prophylactic practices to fight against these maladies. This study is the first human intervention trial in which urban environmental biodiversity was manipulated t…

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