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!

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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Bedtime Use of Technology and Associated Sleep Problems in Children

13 Dec 2017

Children comprise one of the largest consumer groups of technology. Sleep is fundamental to optimal functioning during childhood, including health and behavior. The purpose of this study was to explore bedtime electronic use and its impact on 3 health consequences—sleep quantity and quality, i…

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An exercise-based randomized controlled trial on brain, cognition, physical health and mental health in overweight/obese children (ActiveBrains project)

27 Nov 2017

The new and recent advances in neuroelectric and neuroimaging technologies provide a new era for further exploring and understanding how brain and cognition function can be stimulated by environmental factors, such as exercise, and particularly to study whether physical exercise influences brain dev…

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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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