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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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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Landscapes for play: Effects of an intervention to promote nature-based risky play in early childhood centres

14 Feb 2018

Highlights • The Seven Cs outdoor play space design criteria improved play in two child cares. • Natural materials increased affordances for play. • Children's depressed affect, antisocial behaviour and physical activity decreased. • Independent play and prosocial…

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Prospective associations between toddler televiewing and subsequent lifestyle habits in adolescence

14 Feb 2018

Background Watching television is a common pastime for very young children. High exposure may negatively influence physical and mental health outcomes. Not much is known about how early exposure relates to lifestyle choices in adolescence. Objective To estimate how toddler televiewing is su…

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The Association Between Natural Environments and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescents Living in the United States

19 Jan 2018

Abstract Purpose Exposure to nature and natural environments may be beneficial for mental health; however, most population-based studies have been conducted among adults whereas few have focused on adolescents. We aimed to investigate the relationship between both greenness (vegetation) and bl…

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The influence of the number of toys in the environment on toddlers’ play

13 Dec 2017

Highlights • An abundance of toys present reduced quality of toddlers’ play. • Fewer toys at once may help toddlers to focus better and play more creatively. • This can done in many settings to support development and promote healthy play. We tested the hypothesis th…

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146 items

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