Research

Research into the importance of nature play, learning outdoors, risk-taking and children's mental and physical health and wellbeing forms the basis for the work we do.

Here you'll find the latest scientific research that shows the benefits of nature play for our children!

Use the Search function, or click on a keyword in Resource Categories to find research about a particular subject.

Mechanisms underlying childhood exposure to blue spaces and adult subjective well-being: An 18-country analysis

Abstract Contact with natural environments is associated with good health and well-being. Although childhood nature experiences may be important in the development of an individual’s relationship with nature and subsequent well-being, previous studies have tended to focus on ‘nature’ in general, and the mechanisms by which childhood experiences influence well-being in adulthood remain insufficiently studied. […]

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Smartphone-based ecological momentary assessment reveals mental health benefits of birdlife

Abstract The mental health benefits of everyday encounters with birdlife for mental health are poorly understood. Previous studies have typically relied on retrospective questionnaires or artificial set-ups with little ecological validity. In the present study, we used the Urban Mind smartphone application to examine the impact of seeing or hearing birds on self-reported mental wellbeing […]

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How nature nurtures: Amygdala activity decreases as the result of a one-hour walk in nature

Abstract Since living in cities is associated with an increased risk for mental disorders such as anxiety disorders, depression, and schizophrenia, it is essential to understand how exposure to urban and natural environments affects mental health and the brain. It has been shown that the amygdala is more activated during a stress task in urban […]

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Nature, smells, and human wellbeing

The link between nature and human wellbeing is well established. However, few studies go beyond considering the visual and auditory underpinnings of this relationship, even though engaging with nature is a multisensory experience.

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Effects of Limiting Recreational Screen Media Use on Physical Activity and Sleep in Families With Children

Key Points Question  Does limiting recreational screen media use increase habitual physical activity in children? Findings  In this cluster randomized clinical trial that included 181 children and 164 adults from 89 families, an intervention designed to limit recreational screen use resulted in a mean (SD) increase in children’s nonsedentary time of 44.8 (63.5) minutes per day with […]

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Getting Out of the Classroom and Into Nature: A Systematic Review of Nature-Specific Outdoor Learning on School Children’s Learning and Development

Background: The value of natural environments for developing children’s self-identity and social skills has been known for some time, and more recently the potential of nature-specific (i.e., excluding built environments) outdoor learning for achieving academic outcomes has been explored. Connecting children with natural spaces has been shown to benefit their physical and mental health; however, […]

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Child’s Play: Examining the Association Between Time Spent Playing and Child Mental Health

Abstract It is theorised that adventurous play offers learning opportunities that help to prevent mental health problems in children. In this study, data from two samples is used to examine associations between the time that children aged 5–11 years spent playing adventurously and their mental health. For comparison, time spent playing unadventurously and time spent playing […]

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Reframing Sport for Teenage Girls: Tackling teenage disengagement

The Women in Sport Reframing Sport for Teenage Girls insight showed the need to engage girls in more active lifestyles has never been more urgent. This generation of teenage girls are experiencing worrying mental health issues and report being less confident, less happy and increasingly concerned with their appearance[1]. The pandemic has amplified these issues for many girls.

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Walking Curriculum: Literacy on the Move

By going on walks every day, Anna connected her first graders with nature, with their community, and with each other. They exercised their bodies and minds simultaneously. Moreover, their walks provided an authentic context for literacy development. Learning on the move is not just effective, either. It is also a lot of fun!

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Physical environmental opportunities for active play and physical activity level in preschoolers: a multicriteria analysis

Physical environmental opportunities for active play have a positive effect on physical activity in preschoolers and should be encouraged in different social segments.

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