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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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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From TVs to tablets: the relation between device-specific screen time and health-related behaviors and characteristics

11 Oct 2020

Abstract Background The purpose of this study was to examine whether extended use of a variety of screen-based devices, in addition to television, was associated with poor dietary habits and other health-related characteristics and behaviors among US adults. The recent phenomenon of binge-watc…

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Urban Nature Experiences Reduce Stress in the Context of Daily Life Based on Salivary Biomarkers

10 Oct 2020

Abstract: Stress reduction through contact with nature is well established, but far less is known about the contribution of contact parameters – duration, frequency, and nature quality. This study describes the relationship between duration of a nature experience (NE), and changes in two ph…

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Minimum Time Dose in Nature to Positively Impact the Mental Health of College-Aged Students, and How to Measure It: A Scoping Review

7 Oct 2020

Background:  Across the U.S., college and university students exhibit high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. While counseling, medications and, in more severe cases, hospitalization are all appropriate treatments for such conditions, an increasing body of…

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Big smile, small self: Awe walks promote prosocial positive emotions in older adults.

7 Oct 2020

Aging into later life is often accompanied by social disconnection, anxiety, and sadness. Negative emotions are self-focused states with detrimental effects on aging and longevity. Awe—a positive emotion elicited when in the presence of vast things not immediately understood—reduces self…

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