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!

An evidence report on Covid-19 and children’s play

2 Jul 2020

This report summarises emerging evidence on the effects of play restrictions in terms of a) reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the population and b) the detriments to children resulting from the restrictions. An evidence report on Covid-19 and children’s play shows that the benef…

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Father-child play: A systematic review of its frequency, characteristics and potential impact on children’s development

2 Jul 2020

Highlights • Fathers spend a large proportion of their time with their children engaging in play. • This is often in the form of physical play such as rough and tumble. • Fathers’ play frequency increases from infancy and declines as children reach school age. •…

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Higher parental stress linked to low screen-time enforcement, research finds

18 Jun 2020

When parents are under stress, household rules about screen time often get abandoned, new University of Guelph research finds. A first of its kind in Canada, the study found parents of young children reporting high levels of life or parenting stress were less likely to monitor and limit their kid…

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Social media, nature, and life satisfaction: global evidence of the biophilia hypothesis

11 Mar 2020

Humans may have evolved a need to connect with nature, and nature provides substantial cultural and social values to humans. However, quantifying the connection between humans and nature at a global scale remains challenging. We lack answers to fundamental questions: how do humans experience nature…

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Parental Screen Use and Effect on Children - Association of Parental and Contextual Stressors With Child Screen Exposure and Child Screen Exposure Combined With Feeding

13 Feb 2020

Key Points Question  Are individual and contextual stressors associated with the use and duration of screen time and screen time combined with food in children aged 7 to 18 months? Findings  In this cross-sectional, population-based study of 1085 children, higher levels of parenting…

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Infant and Adult Brains Are Coupled to the Dynamics of Natural Communication

29 Jan 2020

Infancy is the foundational period for learning from adults, and the dynamics of the social environment have long been considered central to children’s development. Here, we reveal a novel, naturalistic approach for studying live interactions between infants and adults. Using functional near-i…

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Innate Immunity and Asthma Risk in Amish and Hutterite Farm Children

7 Jan 2020

BACKGROUND The Amish and Hutterites are U.S. agricultural populations whose lifestyles are remarkably similar in many respects but whose farming practices, in particular, are distinct; the former follow traditional farming practices whereas the latter use industrialized farming practices. The pop…

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Girls who are more physically active in childhood may have better lung function in adolescence

30 Jul 2019

Physical activity has many well-known health benefits, but its association with lung function in childhood and adolescence is not well understood. A new study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a centre supported by "la Caixa," has for the first time demonstrated an a…

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Associations of extracurricular physical activity patterns and body composition components in a multi-ethnic population of UK children (the Size and Lung Function in Children study): a multilevel modelling analysis

18 Jun 2019

Abstract: Background Body Mass Index (BMI) is a common outcome when assessing associations between childhood overweight and obesity and physical activity patterns. However, the fat and fat-free components of BMI, measured by the Fat Mass Index (FMI) and Fat-Free Mass Index (FFMI), may show con…

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The role of shape and specificity in young children's object substitution

14 Jun 2019

Abstract Children often substitute one object for another during play. They may substitute a stick for a sword or a box for a car, often favouring substitutes that are shaped like the needed object. The current study looked at the roles of shape and specificity, the degree to which a possible sub…

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