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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Psychological impacts of “screen time” and “green time” for children and adolescents: A systematic scoping review

7 Sep 2020

Technological developments in recent decades have increased young people’s engagement with screen-based technologies (screen time), and a reduction in young people’s contact with nature (green time) has been observed concurrently. This combination of high screen time and low green time m…

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Urban nature and physical activity: Investigating associations using self-reported and accelerometer data and the role of household income

30 Jul 2020

Highlights • More greenspace was associated with self-reported non-recreational physical activity. • Living by the coast was related to non-recreational, walking and total activity. • Associations were most consistent in the lowest household income quintile. • Relatio…

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How combinations of recreational activities predict connection to nature among youth

30 Jul 2020

Connection to nature (CTN) can help promote environmental engagement requisite for addressing extreme environmental challenges. Current generations, however, may be less connected to nature than previous ones. Spending time in nature can counter this disconnect, particularly among children. In relat…

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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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