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!

Increases in Depressive Symptoms, Suicide-Related Outcomes, and Suicide Rates Among U.S. Adolescents After 2010 and Links to Increased New Media Screen Time

20 Nov 2017

In two nationally representative surveys of U.S. adolescents in grades 8 through 12 (N = 506,820) and national statistics on suicide deaths for those ages 13 to 18, adolescents’ depressive symptoms, suicide-related outcomes, and suicide rates increased between 2010 and 2015, especially am…

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The Effects of the Natural Environment on Attention and Family Cohesion: An Experimental Study

20 Nov 2017

This study explored 1) mothers' and middle-childhood daughters' attention after exposure to two different environments, and 2) their quality of family cohesion. Twenty-seven mother-daughter dyads participated in two counterbalanced experimental conditions—a 20-minute walk at an arboret…

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In search of features that constitute an “enriched environment” in humans: Associations between geographical properties and brain structure

16 Nov 2017

Enriched environments elicit brain plasticity in animals. In humans it is unclear which environment is enriching. Living in a city has been associated with increased amygdala activity in a stress paradigm, and being brought up in a city with increased pregenual anterior cingulate cortex (pACC)…

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Kids in space: Measuring children's residential neighborhoods and other destinations using activity space GPS and wearable camera data

14 Nov 2017

Highlights •Assessed children's neighborhood extent using wearable cameras and GPS devices. •We used GPS derived criteria to determine person-centered neighborhood definitions. •Children spend the majority of their non-school time within 500 m of home. •Child…

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Lifelong Residential Exposure to Green Space and Attention: A Population-based Prospective Study.

8 Nov 2017

BACKGROUND: Natural environments, including green spaces, may have beneficial impacts on brain development. However, longitudinal evidence of an association between long-term exposure to green spaces and cognitive development (including attention) in children is limited. OBJECTIVES: We eval…

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The playful city: constructing a typology for urban design interventions

1 Nov 2017

This article explores the intersection of scholarly findings on adult play with ludic urban interventions (those encouraging spontaneous and undirected playfulness). Playful urban design answers our innate need to explore, discover, experiment and even test our mental and physical boundari…

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Pragmatic evaluation of the Go2Play Active Play intervention on physical activity and fundamental movement skills in children.

12 Oct 2017

Active play is a novel approach to addressing low physical activity levels and fundamental movement skills (FMS) in children. This study aimed to determine if a new school-based, ‘Go2Play Active Play’ intervention improved school day physical activity and FMS. This was a pragmatic evalua…

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Elementary physical education: A focus on fitness activities and smaller class sizes are associated with higher levels of physical activity

11 Oct 2017

Optimizing physical activity during physical education is necessary for children to achieve daily physical activity recommendations. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship among various contextual factors with accelerometer measured physical activity during elementary ph…

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Children’s screen time From Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, 2015 Report

10 Oct 2017

Key findings A majority of Australian children are spending more than the recommended two-hour daily limit for screen time (watching television, on computers and playing electronic games). At 4–5 years old, children average more than two hours screen time per week-day. By 12–13 yea…

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Global kids study: More trees, less disease

9 Oct 2017

A University of Vermont-led study of 300,000 children in 35 nations says kids whose watersheds have greater tree cover are less likely to experience diarrheal disease, the second leading cause of death for children under the age of five. Published in Nature Communications, the study is the f…

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