Article

The Power of Outdoor Play and Play in Natural Environments

Authors:
If you want to read the PDF, try requesting it from the authors.

Abstract

Young children's outdoor play serves important and diverse purposes, including physical exercise and opportunities for growth in all developmental areas. Unfortunately, the amount of time that children spend engaged in unstructured, child-directed outdoor play has diminished significantly in the past generation. In this article, the authors describe some of the reasons for this decline and outline the research-supported benefits of outdoor play in general, as well as benefits of play in natural outdoor environments in particular. Suggestions for making the most of outdoor play will benefit children around the world.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... A growing body of literature highlights that outdoor play is associated with many health, well-being, and developmental benefits for children [1][2][3][4], which often cannot be developed as optimally in an indoor environment [5]. The outdoor environment offers children large spaces and multiple opportunities for discovery that allow them to move, play, experiment, express themselves freely, and to assert their personality [6]. ...
... Outdoor play, especially when it takes place in a natural and stimulating environment, has been demonstrated to be effective in improving children's motor and physical skills [7], body schema, and self-confidence [6]. Moreover, interactions with nature during the early years have been shown to have a positive effect on connectedness with nature and environmentally friendly behaviour in the long term [5,8]. ...
... Half of the proposed situations were reported to be beneficial for the children for discovering their environment and to be in contact with nature. That point is very important as nature-based outdoor play is supposed to have positive effects on children's connectedness with nature and on their acquisition of environmentally friendly behaviour [4,5,8,65]. Half of the situations were recognised by parents as being beneficial for their children in the discovery of personal limits and in the management of risks and dangers. ...
Article
Full-text available
During the early years, children’s outdoor play is dependent on parental supervision. Parents’ perceptions are likely to influence what the child is permitted to do. To better understand the involved mechanisms in parents’ decision making in such contexts, an online photo-based questionnaire was administered. The tool investigates, in different situations, parents and their children’s experience, parents’ perceptions, and permission to play. A total of 417 parents of children aged from 1.5 and 6.0 completed the questionnaire. Results showed that parents, overall, have a positive attitude towards outdoor play. Main concerns were about risk of injury but in most cases, perceived benefits outweigh perceived dangers. “Sawing wood” was the only situation with a negative benefits/dangers balance. A linear regression analysis revealed that permission to play outdoors is based on parental assessment of benefits and dangers. Perceived benefits appeared to have more influence on parental decision than perceived dangers, while perceived competence had only a small influence. The results also showed that parents’ childhood experience of outdoor play was an important determinant for adults’ perceptions, perhaps demonstrating intergenerational concerns, as outdoor play is in decline. To overcome a negative intergenerational effect on children’s outdoor play, interventions and communication should focus on associated benefits.
... Decreasing time spent in outdoor activities should be a major concern. Outdoor activities provide crucial benefits, learning and developmental experiences that cannot be efficiently provided through indoor activities (Kemple et al., 2016). Burdette et al. (2004) emphasize that parents reported that physical activity usually occurs during outdoor playtime as opposed to during indoor activities. ...
... From a practitioner's standpoint, outdoor activities provide significant physical and mental health benefits that often go beyond the benefits of indoor physical activity (Eigenschenk et al., 2019). Research has demonstrated that outdoor activities, especially in natural environments, have significant potential to benefit children's cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development, as well as their health and overall well-being, self-regulation skills, and attention (Kemple et al., 2016). The study conducted by Fjørtoft (2001) indicates that the there is a positive relation between outdoor activities in the natural environment and motor fitness in children. ...
... However, although studies have proved the various benefits of outdoor activities in natural environments, many playgrounds in early childhood do not entirely encourage children's interaction with nature. Furthermore, childhood educators are often unaware of the importance of outdoor activities and children's interactions with nature (Kemple et al., 2016). This could potentially explain the results of our study, meaning that natural surroundings, although beneficial, without systematic planning and early childhood engagement in natural settings could not alter attitudes toward outdoor activities. ...
Article
Full-text available
The main goal of the present study was to explore if there are any differences in attitudes toward outdoor activities between students from urban and rural areas. Moreover, it was necessary to extract data regarding implementation of certain models of outdoor activities in order to evaluate which models are mostly carried out as extracurricular activities in nature in order to draw valuable conclusions for future practice. The results showed that there were no significant differences between students from urban and rural settings, except in students' attitudes towards benefits of outdoor activities on proper growth and development in favor of students from rural areas. According to Cohen's interpretation, a small to moderate effect (Cohen's d=0.02-0.38) regarding living environment variations was present in the relevant items. Moreover, excursions were the most implemented extracurricular activity at schools, and regarding outdoor activities, outings and athletic cross country were the most dominant. However, outdoor activities like winter and summer outdoor activities, camping, cycling, hiking tours should be implemented in order to potentially improve students' engagement in physical activity in natural environments. Future studies should be focused on exploring the effect of diverse natural environments, PE teachers' and practitioners' competencies, school curriculums, students and parents' barriers towards outdoor physical activities. This multifactorial approach could probably provide causal relationship, which could clarify this issue.
... Playa universal building block for child health Play is fundamentally important for children, shaping cognitive and physical development as well as learning and overall well-being (Ginsburg 2007, Kemple et al. 2016. Play is our first step towards active lifestyles, ingraining healthy patterns of behaviour early on. ...
... As children develop, play transforms from play alongside to play with others, supporting cognitive, social and emotional development. Actions such as running, jumping, climbing and balancing assist with gross motor skills, proprioception and understanding of risk (Kemple et al. 2016). Fine motor skills develop through interaction with toys, loose parts or found materials, and games, including imaginative games and role play, help children to develop communication, negotiation and other social skills. ...
... Fine motor skills develop through interaction with toys, loose parts or found materials, and games, including imaginative games and role play, help children to develop communication, negotiation and other social skills. However space and time for play are often constrainedin some parts of the world this may be due to work (child labour), violence and conflict; in others it may be to do with intensive time pressures, social media, poverty or risk (Ginsburg 2007, Unicef 2012, Kemple et al. 2016. ...
... While some teachers may feel pressure to have children spend more time indoors on academically-oriented tasks, research suggests that outdoor time in the midst of plants is beneficial to children's academic success. Young children's outdoor play serves important and diverse purposes, including physical exercise and opportunities for growth in all developmental areas (Kemple et al., 2016). Outdoor play in nature may contribute to improved self-control and more focused attention. ...
... The rich multi-sensory experience of being outdoors appears to encourage children to be more observant of, and curious about, their surroundings, leading to a desire to explore, investigate, and make sense of their observations. Symbolic play, in which children allow one thing to represent another or in which they take on roles and allow themselves to represent another persona, is considered an important element in the development of abstract thinking (Kemple et al. 2016). ...
... Given these benefits, teachers need to provide children with the opportunity for high-quality outdoor play, especially outdoor play in more naturalized environments in the midst of plants. Teachers' knowledge and beliefs about the importance of nature interactions and about their own roles during children's outdoor play can contribute to the efficacy of these child and plant interactions (Kemple et al. 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper provides evidence from the literature regarding the social benefits associated with plants and how they influence the physiological, psychological, and cognitive well-being constructs affecting quality of life. These benefits are segmented and discussed using the following categories: place or community attachment, reduced crime, disaster resilience, access to locally-produced foods, socialization of children and their school performance, and community therapeutic impacts. The equitable distribution of these green space benefits among local populations is also discussed. This research should be strategically incorporated into both industry-wide and firm-specific marketing messages that highlight the quality of life value proposition in order to maintain the industry's sense of value and relevance to residential landscape consumers of the future. These findings also present evidence that municipal leaders and policymakers can use in justifying green infrastructure-related funding decisions, as well as grounds for the construction industry using biophilic design principles in ensuring the built environment offers opportunities for green space interactions. The green industry can play a pivotal role not only in providing plants of high quality for these applications but educating stakeholders regarding the benefits discussed herein. Index words:, benefits of plants, community, social benefits.
... Further, children who spend a large amount of time engaging with digital forms of entertainment are less creative than those who spend their time playing outdoors and engaging in physical play with their peers (Kemple, Oh, Kenney & Smith-Bonahue, 2016). It is unclear how the seven possibility thinking factors will correlate with age and environmental variables, but on the whole, those scoring highest on possibility thinking factors are expected to have correspondingly high scores on a traditional measure of creativity. ...
... In a meta-analytic review of 68 studies of internet addiction (41 focused on adolescents and youth ranging from ages 6-24), researchers found that while there was wide variability in reported statistics regarding the percentage of users who struggled with addictive behavior (.08% -26.7%), there was clear evidence that this form of addiction is occurring and increasing in prevalence throughout the industrialized world (Kuss, Griffiths, Karila & Billieux, 2014). Predictably the increased addiction to technology has occurred in tandem with a significant decrease in outdoor and in-person social activities (Clements, 2004;Kemple et al., 2016), and an increase in psychopathology in youth (Gray, 2011). Clements surveyed 830 mothers nationwide regarding their play experiences as children and their children's play experiences. ...
... This decline coincides directly with the increased prevalence of digital technology throughout industrialized society. Kemple, et al. (2016) note that children engage in more symbolic play and demonstrate higher levels of creative thinking in their play when outside or collaborating with peers and theorize that preoccupation with screens (televisions and computers) is to blame for the observed decline. One experimental study found that for a sample of 56 young adults, with an average age of 24 years old, immersion in nature, and the corresponding disconnection from multi-media and technology, increased performance on a creativity, problem-solving task by a full 50% (Atchley, Strayer, & Atchley, 2012). ...
... Numerous research has shown the benefits of outdoor experience on children's health and holistic development (Burriss and Burriss 2011;Kemple et al. 2016;Sandseter and Kennair 2011). When children spend time outdoors, it strengthens their immune system (OLC 2019) and improves brain functioning (Burriss and Burriss 2011), heart health, lungs and physiology (Kemple et al. 2016), and positive emotion (Sandseter and Kennair 2011). ...
... Numerous research has shown the benefits of outdoor experience on children's health and holistic development (Burriss and Burriss 2011;Kemple et al. 2016;Sandseter and Kennair 2011). When children spend time outdoors, it strengthens their immune system (OLC 2019) and improves brain functioning (Burriss and Burriss 2011), heart health, lungs and physiology (Kemple et al. 2016), and positive emotion (Sandseter and Kennair 2011). With more practice on gross motor skills, children's confidence to engage in physical activities increases too (Ebbeck, Yim, and Warrier 2019). ...
... They need to learn, if it's really hurting, you got to stop. (Teachers' interview #3) Both Ebbeck, Yim, and Warrier (2019) and Kemple et al. (2016) support the teacher's comment that called attention to the increase in confidence when children are allowed to engage and refine their physical movements. ...
Article
The Singapore government has laid out a regulation for daily minimum time spent outdoors and the Outdoor Learning Guide (OLG) to support children’s outdoor experiences in full-day childcare programmes. However, there is scarce research on young children’s outdoor learning experiences from children’s and teachers’ perspectives. This study aims to make sense of children’s outdoor learning using the child-sensitive tool – pedagogical documentation – in a Singapore childcare centre. It highlights the value of outdoor learning experiences for children as well as teachers’ views of outdoor learning through the implementation of pedagogical documentation. Pedagogical documentation as an in-depth, qualitative research approach has allowed us to generate two learning stories, revealing the impact of children’s outdoor learning experiences on their social-emotional development and learning dispositions. Additionally, the reflective discussions with teachers uncovered their perspectives of outdoor learning and pedagogical knowledge. Pedagogical documentation made children’s outdoor learning visible while keeping a balance between children’s and teachers’ voices.
... Nature connectedness, another diverse and contested term, is being seen as increasingly important in terms of community and school based health and environmental approaches (Kaplan and Kaplan, 1989;Kellert and Wilson, 1993;. Community gardens based in school settings have been associated with positive impacts on physical activity levels, wellbeing, and social connection (Lovell et al., 2014;Ohly et al., 2016), while free play in natural environments has been positively correlated with increased empathy and connection to nature (Louv, 2010;Kemple et al., 2016). ...
... Research exploring the role of democracy, agency, and participation has aimed to explore children's attunement to nature from "contemporary sociological understandings of children's competence as social actors" (Holloway and Valentine, 2004, p. 2). There is also increasing concern that young people are experiencing a nature deficit that is associated with changing cultures of play and increased technology use, and addressing this is seen as important for educators, researchers and policy-makers alike (Louv, 2010;Kemple et al., 2016;MacQuarrie and Nugent, 2017). ...
Article
This scoping review collates empirical and gray literature that examines how schools are acting to nurture healthier and more environmentally aware young people through integrated approaches. Over the last twenty years, integration has been increasing within school contexts. Approaches include teaching and learning, physical environmental adaptations, developing ecologically focused policy, and reorienting wider school culture. We noted a developing discourse around what constitutes evidence in this emerging interdisciplinary field. Developing a better understanding of integrated approaches and an evidence base of what works and how could inform interdisciplinary collaboration and enable a clearer message to be communicated to stakeholders about how the school context can nurture healthier and more environmentally aware young people.
... Anak-anak sebagaimana oleh Konvensi Hak Anak memiliki hak publik yang sangat penting untuk mendorong konsep Play Everywhere dan kota ramah anak. Bermain pada dasarnya penting bagi anak-anak untuk membentuk perkembangan kognitif dan fisik, pembelajaran dan kesejahteraan secara menyeluruh (Ginsburg 2007, Kemple et al. 2016. Oleh karenanya telah banyak. ...
... Ketika anak-anak berkembang, bermain mengubah dari bermain bersama untuk bermain dengan orang lain, mendukung perkembangan kognitif, sosial dan emosional. Tindakan seperti berlari, melompat, memanjat dan menyeimbangkan membantu dengan keterampilan motorik kasar, proprioception dan pemahaman risiko (Kemple et al 2016). ...
... A research question that embraces general discussions on outdoor play activities is what the standards are for outdoor playground design suitable for children's overall development. Recently, with higher concerns yielded from increasing screen time and insufficient exposure to natural and spontaneous outdoor play activity in occupied cities, research on the effect of outdoor play on children's holistic development has been discussed regarding different dimensions of outdoor play [8], play context and social skill building with peers and parents [9,10], and also the integrity of outdoor playgrounds and nature environments [11,12]. It has been believed that sophisticated designs of outdoor playgrounds elevate not only children's physical motor skills, but also their cognitive skills, language use, and social ability [13,14]. ...
... Particularly in regard to outdoor play, this helps children with systemic coordination and balanced development, hand-eye coordination, and skeletal-muscle development [11,12,19,42]. Outdoor space can give children more mental and physical freedom in less organized spaces for playing activities. ...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this research is to discover adequate and environmental outdoor playground design criteria based on the collected opinions of experts. Taking the case of South Korea into account, this research focuses on the development of a new outdoor playground design criteria that could offset the limited motor activities and environmental use which has been restricted by the current regulations. In particular, this research approaches the issue from the perspective of children’s fundamental movement skills and the development of their perceptual-motor abilities. The research conducted three rounds of a Delphi survey and held a consensus of experts in child development, child physical education, and playground designs. The research achieved results defining 9 categories and 23 items within the categories of design criteria for outdoor playgrounds. Significantly, the discussions were not limited to children’s holistic development—from motor and physical development to attaining mental, social, and cognitive skills—but also included discussions of children’s dynamic interaction with the surrounding nature and environment, especially in challenge making and risk taking.
... In addition, the time children spend outdoors has been found to be more strongly related to physical activity than time spent indoors [7]. However, despite the potential health benefits of natural environments, children today spend less time outdoors interacting with nature [8,9]. At the same time, in several countries, a great number of children do not meet physical activity recommendations [10,11], which could partly be due to excessive use of media [12]. ...
... In sum, children today spend less time outdoors interacting with nature [8,9]. As spending time in nature is linked with a variety of health benefits (e.g., [1,2]), and families have been identified as playing a crucial role in influencing children's nature-based activities (e.g., [13]), it has become important to understand which parental factors facilitate or hinder children's nature visits. ...
Article
Full-text available
Regular access to green space has been shown to provide several health benefits for children. However, children today spend less time outdoors. Thus, it has become important to understand what drives and limits children’s activities in nature. Based on a Finnish online survey of 1463 parents of children aged 2–7 conducted in 2019, the current study examined parents’ perceived barriers to visiting nature with their children. It also examined how parental mental well-being is related to families’ frequency of nature visits, and whether this association is mediated by different categories of parents’ perceived barriers. Eleven out of 12 barriers were largely perceived by parents as reasons that did not prevent them from visiting nature with their children. Next, factor analysis indicated a three-factor solution to the barriers. The results of a multiple mediation analysis showed that better parental mental well-being was associated with more frequent adult-child nature visits, and this relationship was partially mediated by a “lack of competence and logistics” and a “lack of time and interest”, but not by “insecurity and fear”. The results indicated that parents with poor mental well-being were more likely to perceive barriers to visiting nature, which in turn appeared to be related to a higher likelihood of having children who visited nature less frequently.
... Second, while the indoor environment is more stable and comfortable, the outdoor environment is generally unstructured, less controlled, contains risks, and is changeable depending on weather conditions and seasonal and geographical differences (Boldemann et al., 2011;Stephenson, 2002). A growing body of evidence has indicated that outdoor play can foster children's creativity, focused attention, self-regulation, resiliency, and ability to monitor environmental stimuli and manipulate them flexibly (Becker et al., 2014;Harper & Obee, 2021;Kemple et al., 2016;Taylor & Kuo, 2009). Third, studies have shown that outdoor play enables children to play in larger groups than indoor play. ...
... Third, studies have shown that outdoor play enables children to play in larger groups than indoor play. Thus, children use more and better communication with more complex language while practicing perspective-taking skills during outdoor play (Frost, 2004;Hartle, 1994;Kemple et al., 2016). Combined, the above studies have suggested that indoor and outdoor play may be differently associated with children's EF development. ...
Article
Full-text available
Individual differences in executive function (EF) are key to a child’s development and school success. Few studies have investigated the family’s influence on EF from a holistic perspective that extends beyond socioeconomic status, parenting style, mother-child talk, and maternal depression. To fill this gap, the present study aimed to investigate predictors of EF skills in a family context. In a cross-sectional predictive research design, a stratified sampling method was used to select 201 preschool children (103 boys and 98 girls) and their parents. All children were monolingual Turkish speakers and were enrolled in preschool institutions in Middle Anatolia, Turkey. The study revealed that, within the home literacy environment (HLE), receptive vocabulary, active screen time, and indoor and outdoor playtime were positively correlated with EF, while passive screen time was negatively correlated with EF. The hierarchal regression model predicted 64% of the variance in the children’s EF. Thus, the dynamic structures of the HLE play a substantial role in EF development, and a holistic perspective of family context may better explain individual differences in children’s EF skills.
... Besides, the outdoors offers a sense of exhilaration and courage while simultaneously exposing children to risk and challenge. Such context motivates children to test their strengths and limits, try new skills, to learn how to adapt to the changing environment and to negotiate risky events, therefore improving their actual and perceived motor competence (Kemple, Oh, Kenney, & Smith-Bonahue, 2016;Little & Sweller, 2015;Little & Wyver, 2008). ...
... Physical activity is a fundamental resource for children's health and development (Marmeleira & Duarte Santos, 2019), contributing to more favorable metabolic, body composition, and cardiovascular risk profiles, as well as enhanced bone health, and reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression (World Health Organization, 2010). Compared to indoor environments, the outdoors is generally more likely to contribute to the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations of a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day for children (Kemple et al., 2016;World Health Organization, 2010). Compared to indoor childcare settings, preschoolers are twice as active and less sedentary when outside (Tandon, Saelens, Zhou, & Christakis, 2018). ...
... The purpose of this study is to contribute to an understudied field in the area of education and outdoor play on playgrounds. Education, learning experience and play opportunities on playgrounds influence children's lives in several ways: being provided with a frame for social interaction (Jorgensen, 2017;Kemple, Oh, Kenney, & Smith-Bonahue, 2016), children might learn to play or play to learn (Brooker, 2017). Accordingly, quite recently the importance of children's play has been rediscovered and children's agency has been emphasized, yet playgrounds are designed by adults not children (Brett, Moore, & Provenzo, 1993). ...
... Hence, children's play and playgrounds have received profound research attention over the past years, particularly in childhood studies. In many recent publications children are seen as autonomous, independent human beings interested in building and maintaining relationships with other children (Jorgensen, 2017;Kemple et al., 2016;Olsen & Smith, 2017), while families seemed less important. So, parental and/or families' contribution to children's ways of learning / playing on playgrounds has been studied less extensively. ...
Article
Full-text available
Children and their families often use free and public playgrounds as a means and a tool for outdoor play, social interaction and a safe place and space for experiences. The mostly and widely shared assumption that the use and visit of a (particular) playground is up to the respective child cannot be confirmed by this study’s results. The results of this study show that parents in Italy and Germany intervene where the social experience of their children is concerned, in particular, where different cultures are tangled. Paren- tal intervention occurred as ethnic and/or national segregation by time and space in Italy and Germany. Austrian parents showed a different behaviour pattern.
... Outdoor play is "a form of play that takes place outdoors, where the outdoors is defined as any open-air, wild, natural, or human-made space" [1]. The value of outdoor play for children's health, well-being, and development has been extensively documented [2][3][4][5][6][7][8]. Significant evidence outlines the importance of outdoor play in children's cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development; health; and overall well-being [9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]. ...
... In addition, spending time outdoors can boost children's vitamin D levels, spatial awareness, and motor skills while offering opportunities to stimulate physical activity [5,6,17]. Despite these benefits, children in North America are spending less time outdoors because of the changing landscape of neighborhoods, increased time spent on technology, and shifting family lifestyles [8,[18][19][20][21]. Many children have limited access to outdoor environments or face barriers to accessing opportunities for outdoor play [19]. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
BACKGROUND Participation in outdoor play has been extensively documented as beneficial for the health, well-being, and development of children. Canadian early childhood education centers (ECECs) are important settings in young children’s lives and provide opportunities to participate in outdoor play. However, there are barriers to the provision of outdoor play opportunities at ECECs, such as adverse weather conditions, poorly designed outdoor spaces, outdoor time policies, and early childhood educator comfort levels. OBJECTIVE The PROmoting Early Childhood Outside (PRO-ECO) study is a wait-list control cluster randomized trial that evaluates the impact of the PRO-ECO intervention, an innovative outdoor play intervention, on children’s outdoor play behavior. The purpose of this paper was to provide a detailed overview of the pilot study protocol and the methods that will be used to develop, implement, and evaluate the PRO-ECO intervention. METHODS A total of 8 ECECs delivering licensed care to children aged 2.5 to 6 years in the Greater Vancouver region of British Columbia, Canada, and operated by the YMCA of Greater Vancouver (YMCA GV) are included in this study. Using a wait-list control cluster randomized trial design, we randomly allocated ECECs to either the PRO-ECO intervention arm (n=4) or the wait-list control arm (n=4). The primary outcome measures include changes in the proportion and diversity of observed outdoor play behavior during dedicated outdoor times at the ECECs as measured through observational behavior mapping. Secondary outcome measures include changes in educator attitudes; quality of ECECs’ outdoor play space; and children’s psychosocial strengths, physical activity levels, and social behaviors. A process evaluation of the acceptability of the PRO-ECO intervention in the 8 YMCA GV ECECs will also be assessed. Outcome data will be collected at baseline, 6-month follow-up, and 12-month follow-up. Mixed effect models will test the effect of the PRO-ECO intervention on quantitative outcomes. Baseline and postintervention data will be included in the analysis, controlling for the cluster design. Qualitative data will support quantitative findings and provide evidence for the acceptability of implementation. RESULTS Participant recruitment for this study began in August 2021, and baseline data collection was completed at all 8 ECECs in November 2021. As of April 2022, a total of 130 children have been recruited to participate in this study. CONCLUSIONS The PRO-ECO pilot study will develop, implement, and evaluate the PRO-ECO intervention within 8 YMCA GV ECECs in the Vancouver region of British Columbia, Canada. The findings of this study will be useful for early childhood educators, ECEC providers, and policy makers to consider means for enhancing outdoor play provision and assessing the sustainability of the intervention in ECEC settings. CLINICALTRIAL ClinicalTrials.gov NCT05075580; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT05073380 INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT DERR1-10.2196/38365
... Outdoor play is "a form of play that takes place outdoors, where the outdoors is defined as any open-air, wild, natural, or human-made space" [1]. The value of outdoor play for children's health, well-being, and development has been extensively documented [2][3][4][5][6][7][8]. Significant evidence outlines the importance of outdoor play in children's cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development; health; and overall well-being [9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]. ...
... In addition, spending time outdoors can boost children's vitamin D levels, spatial awareness, and motor skills while offering opportunities to stimulate physical activity [5,6,17]. Despite these benefits, children in North America are spending less time outdoors because of the changing landscape of neighborhoods, increased time spent on technology, and shifting family lifestyles [8,[18][19][20][21]. Many children have limited access to outdoor environments or face barriers to accessing opportunities for outdoor play [19]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Participation in outdoor play has been extensively documented as beneficial for the health, well-being and development of children. Canadian early childhood education centres (ECECs) are important settings in young children’s lives and provide opportunities to participate in outdoor play. However, there are barriers to the provision of outdoor play opportunities at ECECs, such as adverse weather conditions, poorly designed outdoor spaces, outdoor time policies and early childhood educators (ECEs) comfort levels. Objective: The PROmoting Early Childhood Outside (PRO-ECO) Study is a wait-list control cluster randomized trial that evaluates the impact of the PRO-ECO intervention, an innovative outdoor play intervention, on children’s outdoor play behaviour. The purpose of this paper is to provide a detailed overview of the pilot study protocol and the methods that will be used to develop, implement and evaluate the PRO-ECO intervention. Methods: Eight ECECs delivering licensed care to children aged 2.5 – 6 years in the Greater Vancouver region of British Columbia, Canada and operated by the Young Men’s Christian Association of Greater Vancouver (YMCA GV) are included in this study. Using a wait-list control cluster randomized trial design, we randomly allocated ECECs to either the PRO-ECO intervention arm (n = 4) or the wait-list control arm (n = 4). Primary outcome measures include changes in the proportion and diversity of observed outdoor play behavior during dedicated outdoor times at the ECECs as measured through observational behaviour mapping. Secondary outcome measures include changes in educator attitudes, quality of ECECs’ outdoor play space, and children’s psychosocial strengths, physical activity levels, and social behaviours. A process evaluation on the acceptability of the PRO-ECO intervention in the eight YMCA GV ECECs will also be assessed. Outcome data are collected at baseline, 6-month follow-up and 12-month follow-up. Mixed-effect models will test the effect of the PRO-ECO intervention on quantitative outcomes. Baseline and post-intervention data will be included in the analysis, controlling for the cluster design. Qualitative data will support quantitative findings and provide evidence on the acceptability of implementation. Results: Participant recruitment for this study began in August 2021 and baseline data collection was completed at all eight ECECs in November 2021. As of April 2022, 130 children have been recruited to participate in this study. Conclusions: The PRO-ECO pilot study will develop, implement, and evaluate the PRO-ECO intervention within eight YMCA GV ECECs in the Vancouver region of Canada. The findings of this work will be useful for ECEs, ECEC providers, and policy makers to consider means for enhancing outdoor play provision and assessing sustainability of the intervention in ECEC settings. Clinical Trial: NCT05075580
... In outdoor environments, children seem to have more freedom to play including expressing themselves [39]. Children are likely to make friends and enjoy of being with others when they are exposed to outdoor play [40]. ...
... Children are likely to make friends and enjoy of being with others when they are exposed to outdoor play [40]. In fact, social interactions between children during indoor and outdoor play are varied [39]. Through outdoor play, children develop better communication and perspective-taking skills [41]. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study attempts to establish the causal effects of outdoor play through a conceptual model consisting of six latent constructs. Seventy Penang preschool operators took part in a questionnaire survey conducted from June to July 2021. All of the 70 respondents agreed that outdoor play is important for children’s development even though only 62 respondents implemented outdoor play yards in their preschools. Raw data from these 62 respondents were used to develop the conceptual model by PLS-SEM. Measurement models were assessed by checking the indicator reliability, internal consistency reliability, convergent validity and discriminant validity. The structural model was assessed by checking the SRMR and NFI. The measurement models are found to be acceptable with AVE > 0.50 for all of the constructs and all of the 34 indicators have loadings > 0.50. However, there are 16 indicators with difference between loadings < 0.10, and the structural model does not have a good fit with SRMR > 0.10 and NFI < 0.90. Lack of discriminant validity could be remedied by removing eight indicators with difference between loadings < 0.10. Model fit could be improved with larger sample size since bootstrapping with 1000 iterations yielded SRMR = 0.098 at 95% for the saturated model. Seven significant paths were found among the six constructs in the final conceptual model.
... Recent research indicates that, over recent decades, children are left with less opportunities for free play, especially outdoors (e.g., [6][7][8][9][10]). Children's spend more time indoor in sedentary activities, and less time in outdoor play and vigorous physical activity [11]. Similarly, research on outdoor play indicate that children rarely get opportunities to learn and master risk on their own account [9,[12][13][14][15][16]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Children spend a large amount of time each day in early childhood education and care (ECEC) institutions, and the ECEC play environments are important for children’s play opportunities. This includes children’s opportunities to engage in risky play. This study examined the rela-tionship between the outdoor play environment and the occurrence of children’s risky play in ECEC institutions. Children (N = 80) were observed in two-minute sequences during periods of the day when they were free to choose what to do. The data consists of 935 randomly recorded two-minute videos, which were coded second by second for several categories of risky play as well as where and with what materials the play occurred. Results revealed that risky play (all categories in total) was positively associated with fixed equipment for functional play, nature and other fixed structures, while analysis of play materials showed that risky play was positive-ly associated with wheeled toys. The results can support practitioners in developing their out-door areas to provide varied and exciting play opportunities.
... Even within a generation, a rapid decline in opportunities for outdoor play has been noted (Clements, 2004;Francis & Lorenzo, 2006;Ginsburg, 2007). Childhood has changed, where much of the physically outdoor play has shifted toward more sedentary indoor activities (Kemple, Oh, Kenney, & Smith-Bonahue, 2016). It is well documented that changes in urban environments prevent children from engaging freely in their neighborhoods (Francis & Lorenzo, 2006), and that this restricts children to more isolated places such as homes, day care and schools (Kernan, 2010). ...
Article
Risk aversive perceptions and practices among ECEC practitioners and parents have proven to be an important reason for the decline of young children’s opportunities for free outdoor play. Yet, there are also cultural differences in the perception of children’s risky play. This study aims at examining the factors that ECEC practitioners and parents experience as barriers for children’s outdoor play, especially those associated with risk. ECEC practitioners and parents in five different European countries (Greece, Portugal, Estonia, Croatia and Norway) received questionnaires about their perception of children’s outdoor play. The sample consists of 32 ECEC practitioners and 184 parents. Results show that parents and ECEC practitioners from Norway are less risk aversive to children’s play than those from the southern European countries. Traffic is a barrier for outdoor play among parents from all countries (above 50%), and stranger danger is particularly noticed in parents from Greece (80.6%) and Portugal (62.9%), whereas in Norway this value is only 13.3%. The mean average age from which parents allow their children to play outside is quite different between the participating countries, ranging from 5.8 years in Norway to 11.8 years in Greece. In total, fear of children getting injured and adults’ own concern/anxiety are only mentioned as barriers by 9.4% and 3.1% of ECEC practitioners, respectively. Lack of play spaces (74.3%) and poor play facilities (80%) are also considered obstacles to letting children play outside by Greek parents, whereas Portuguese ones emphasized media alerts (61.3%). Our results suggest a differentiated approach between countries to tackle the reported barriers to children’s outdoor risky play.
... Recent research in which young people (aged11-16) and staff at a special educational needs secondary school in Greater Manchester, UK, were interviewed and observed demonstrated that both staff and pupils recognised the benefits of interacting with natural spaces (von Benzon, 2017). Kemple et al. (2016) also found that the rate of stress decreases in children in one minute after contact with the green environment. ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This Policy Brief is the result of the ERASMUS+ co-funded project “Green Learning Environments – Taking advantage of the Stimulating Green Environment for Non-Formal Learning with Children with Cognitive Disabilities and Learning Disorders”. During this project six specialist schools and four organisations working within the environmental education sector exchanged knowledge and developed a toolbox with activities that facilitate non-formal learning education for children with special educational needs.
... Authoritative parenting style found negative correlations seen in interpersonal skills, emotional management and adaptation to change, the ability to express verbally, self-control, listening skills, these results indicate that as parents more actively protect children or parental attitudes towards children who are overly, children's social skills are reduced. This concludes the results of research that states that psychologically parents who control the psychology of children in care will provide psychological experience in psychological development such as fear, guilt, negative behavior and tend to control others (Kemple, Oh, Kenney, & Smith-Bonahue, 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
Physical activity is very important for early childhood, especially outdoor activities that add a lot of new experiences. This study aims to check the relationship of children's outdoor activities and parenting styles and children's social skills. The participants are 125 parents of early childhood who attend kindergarten. The research method is a descriptive study using the relational screening model. The results showed that there was a relationship between outside play and parenting style on the social skills of children in their childhood. Democratic parenting styles are found to promote children's social skills, while authoritative parenting styles have a negative correlation with interpersonal skills, the ability to express verbally, self-control, listening skills, emotional management and adaptation to change. In the sub-dimensions of anger management and adaptation to changing skills is a significant difference between authoritative parenting styles and not permissive parenting with children's social skills.
... Freeman 1995;Lester and Maudsley 2006;Brussoni et al. 2012;Moss 2012;Gray 2011). Childhood has changed, and children's daily lives are now characterized more by sedentary indoor activities than outdoor play and physical activity (Kemple et al. 2016). The concern for the decline in children's play is also emphasized in the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, General comment no. ...
Article
Full-text available
Research on children’s risky play and young children’s risk taking is a relatively new research area that has drawn the attention of many researchers in the last decades. Nevertheless, to our knowledge, no earlier studies have measured the prevalence of risky play when children can freely choose what to play, with whom, and where. Most research on risky play has also exclusively focused on outdoor play. This study aims at examining the occurrence and characteristics of children’s risky play, indoors and outdoors, in early childhood education and care (ECEC) institutions. Children (N = 80) were observed in two-minute sequences during periods of the day when they were free to choose what to do. The data consists of 1878 randomly recorded two-minute videos, which were coded second by second for the occurrence of several categories of risky play. Results revealed that risky play was registered in 10.3% of the total data material. The data is further analysed to explore distribution among different types of risky play, as well as differences between gender, age and environment (indoors vs. outdoors).
... Research emphasizes the importance of natural environments that allow children to discover and that support their creativity and collaboration (Tuğrul et al., 2019;Zamani, 2016). Given the positive impact of outdoor plays on children's development, teachers are recommended to provide children with play opportunities in natural settings (Bento & Dias, 2017; Kemple et al., 2016;Miranda et al., 2017). In this context, placing more outdoor play materials and natural materials such as water and sand that children can use, will allow children to prefer outdoor plays more and participate in them (Miranda et al., 2017;Wiseman et al., 2018;Zamani, 2016) ...
... Unfortunately, children in contemporary world spend most of their time either structured after school activities taking place indoors or still and passive activities across the screen (Faber-Taylor, & Kuo, 2006;Gray, 2011;Kemple, Oh, Kenney, & Smith-Bonahue, 2016;Louv, 2005;). Pergam and Zaradic (2006) argue that in today's world, where technology prevents children from spending time in nature, the biophilic tendencies triggered by the discovery of natural world have been replaced by the videophile, which has emerged with the attractiveness of electronic media tools. ...
Article
Full-text available
This current study explores 48-60-month-old preschool children's biophilic tendencies by explaining their reasons. The sample of the study consisted of 116 preschool children selected from four public preschools located in Mersin, Turkey. Children's Biophilia Measure exploring young children's levels of affinity toward nature was used as a data collecting material. The findings revealed that the frequencies of young children's biophilic tendencies were much more than their non-biophilic tendencies. The effect of culture, including parental allowance and restriction, was the most striking factor influencing children's biophilic or non-biophilic tendencies. The other factors affecting children's tendencies were affordances of the natural outdoor settings for children's play, safety hazards outdoors, having fun/feeling enjoyment during nature play, attractiveness/unattractiveness of a natural stimuli, curiosity, and previous experiences in natural environment. The finding of this research suggested that there is a need for accessible natural settings to ensure young children's regular and direct interactions with nature; which in turn, strengthen their affinity toward nature.
... While outdoor physical play will always be an essential part of healthy child development, for many families, it is not practical to allow children to go outside unsupervised multiple times a day for hours on end. 37 Physical activity boosts creativity and cognition, 38 You've probably seen your child's imagination flourish when they're playing dress-up or make-believe games. ...
... Nature exposure can also reduce stress during early childhood in comparison to the ones that did not have much access to similar outside stimuli (Wells and Evans, 2003). Children highly exposed to nature also present great health and physical development (development and refinement of locomotor skills, for example), improved self-control (reduces inappropriate in-class behaviors), better communication and social development (more complex language), besides proper cognitive development (multi-sensorial stimuli that raise curiosity and creativity) (Kemple et al., 2016). ...
Article
Since the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was announced, we had an unprecedented change in the way we organize ourselves socially and in our daily routine. Children and adolescents were also greatly impacted by the abrupt withdrawal from school, social life and outdoor activities. Some of them also experienced domestic violence growing. The stress they are subjected to directly impacts their mental health on account of increased anxiety, changes in their diets and in school dynamics, fear or even failing to scale the problem. Our aim is to bring up a discussion under different aspects and to alert public health and government agents about the need for surveillance and care of these individuals. We hope that the damage to their mental health as a result of the side effect of this pandemic can be mitigated by adequate and timely intervention.
... The critical importance of outdoor play for children's well-being and learning is grounded in a strong body of research (Aasen, Grindheim, & Waters, 2009;Bento & Dias, 2017;Fjørtoft, 2000;Louv, 2005). In addition, asked about childhood, most adults will probably describe playing in outdoor environments, such as parks, streets and playgrounds (Kemple, Oh, Kenney, & Smith-Bonahue, 2016;Louv, 2005). However, studies from the past forty years have suggested that in many places around the world, both children and adults have limited access to the outdoors (Clements, 2004;Knight, 2009;Waller et al., 2017). ...
... La obligación de estar en casa condiciona la tipología de juego predominante, limitando de forma importante el desarrollo de los juegos de ejercicio, sobre todo de aquellos que requieren desplazamientos y manipulación de objetos. Diversos estudios establecen una relación positiva entre el tiempo que la infancia pasa al aire libre y sus niveles de actividad física (Bento y Dias, 2017;Kemple, Oh, Kenney, Smith-Bonahue, 2016;Pagels, Raustorp, Guban, Frober y Boldeman, 2016;Tandon, Saelens, Zhou y Christakis, 2018). El confi namiento supuso sin duda una limitación de ambos aspectos, lo que se pone de manifi esto en la importante reducción de los juegos de ejercicio, con los consiguientes efectos negativos sobre la salud y la calidad de vida de los menores. ...
Article
Full-text available
Introducción: este trabajo estudia los efectos del confinamiento total en las familias españolas debido a la COVID-19 sobre el tiempo dedicado al juego y las tareas escolares, asesoramiento de la escuela a las familias y prioridades de las familias respecto al juego, las tareas escolares y las actividades extraescolares. Metodología: cuantitativa. Cuestionario online administrado durante el mes de abril del 2020 a 622 participantes con hijos/as menores de edad escolarizados/as. Conclusiones: durante el confinamiento, el tiempo de juego ha aumentado notablemente y el de las tareas escolares ha experimentado un incremento más moderado. El asesoramiento de los centros en materia de juego se ha elevado, aunque no ha llegado a generalizarse. Introduction: this paper studies the effects of full COVID-19 lockdown of Spanish families affected the following aspects: play and school tasks time, school counselling to families and priorities of families regarding play, school tasks, and extracurricular activities. Method: quantitative. Online questionnaire administered during full lockdown in Spain to 622 participants with underage children. Conclusions: playtime increased significantly and school tasks time grew moderately. Play counselling from schools increased during lockdown, although it did not become widespread.
... Additional challenges include homes with inadequate heating, and children without access to outdoor leisure facilities or books. Extensive literature evidences the many benefits of outdoor play and learning provision for children in terms of educational, social, and physical and emotional health outcomes [12][13][14][15]. ...
Article
The purpose of this research is to look at how primary schools in England have adapted their outdoor spaces in the context of COVID-19 rules and guidelines to meet the needs of students returning from school closures and national lockdown of Spring/Summer 2020, how that impacted play and learning value of their grounds, and to consider how these findings might inform future school grounds design. Thus, we used a mixed-method approach that included qualitative interviews with representatives from six primary schools (three in rural and three in urban areas), quantitative desk research, and in-person site surveys. We used literature-based scoring criteria to quantify changes in the playground before and after the implementation of COVID-19 measures. The research reveals that the zoning of play areas and other aspects of the school grounds may negatively affected the value of play and learning. We also found a substantial disparity in the amount of outside space per pupil (OSPP) available across schools. Those with the lowest OSPP also had the lowest outdoor and environmental learning provision, lacking the flexibility to accommodate this alongside other requirements of staggered play breaks and PE. The amount of outdoor space that a school has available per pupil averaged at 32 m² for urban schools and 43 m² for rural schools. Finally, we have explored how spatial layout and design elements may have supported or inhibited schools' abilities to respond to children's needs, and how this might inform adaptive school grounds design considerations for the future.
... Several studies have shown that the physical environment, whether indoors or outdoors, impacts children's participation and well-being (Bjørgen 2015(Bjørgen , 2017Hagen 2015;Kemple et al. 2016;Neill 1982;Sando 2019aSando , 2019bStorli and Sandseter 2019;Ulich and Mayr 2002). According to Sando (2019b), children's well-being indoors positively correlates with space (e.g. a room) that encourages play involving physical activity and the freedom to use it. ...
Article
Full-text available
Children’s well-being in early childhood education and care (ECEC) is associated with their participation in both planning and assessing ECEC activities. The aim of the study presented here was therefore to explore children’s experiences of participating in different physical environments and activities in ECEC institutions. Quantitative data were collected from structured conversations with 3693 4–6-year-old children using the Norwegian ECEC Well-Being Monitor from 2014 to 2019. Among the results, children’s experiences of participating in ECEC activities were diverse and depended upon the physical environment, although most children experienced higher degrees of participation when outdoors instead of indoors. Furthermore, going hiking and circle time are activities the majority of children have to attend, even if they do not want to. Increased awareness about how children experience opportunities for participating in ECEC activities is important for ECEC institutions and may influence pedagogical thinking and planning in different environments and activities.
... Simply put, time spent outdoors in nature benefits the whole child. Research demonstrates that children's cognitive, physical, and social development, as well as their mental well-being are enhanced from experiences in a natural environment (Gill, 2019;Kemple et al., 2016). The relationship between time spent outdoors and children's physical activity is well documented (Larouche et al., 2019). ...
... In this type of movement, the student explores and learns by themselves. While young children may have a multitude of unstructured PA opportunities during the school day, it is important to note that young children should experience both structured and unstructured PA [23]. ...
Article
It is recommended that children ages 3-5 receive 180 minutes of physical activity a day, with at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Despite these recommendations, a majority of preschoolers are not provided opportunities in the early childhood education setting to meet these daily recommendations through either structured or unstructured physical activity. Accordingly, the number of young children identified as overweight or obese over the past couple of decades has increased. Critical to addressing this epidemic is the role of physical activity in the early childhood classroom and its capacity to increase healthy development and lifelong habits for young children. Participants in this study consisted of 23 Pre-K 4 teachers from 5 different preschools across North Mississippi. A phenomenological approach was utilized to determine if the barriers to physical activity implementation in early childhood education classrooms were effectively addressed through the Growing Healthy Minds, Bodies, and Communities curriculum. This was completed by garnering teachers' perceptions of the curriculum through pre- and post-focus groups. Three themes emerged from the data regarding teachers’ perceptions of the Growing Healthy Minds, Bodies, and Communities physical activity curriclum. Those themes are as follows: (a) teacher and student benefits of and engagement with physical activity in early childhood education; (b) shifting the mindset from “fitting it all in” to “making it work with modifications”; and (c) linking it to literacy. The opportunity for young children to participate in physical activity is a critical determinant of their overall health and development. While there has been an overall decrease in opportunities for preschool children to participate in both unstructured and structured physical activity, it is crucial to view physical activity as an essential and integrated component of the curriculum. When viewed through this lens, it provides a foundation that promotes lifelong healthy habits and development of children who become happy, healthy, and productive citizens in society.
... Simply put, time spent outdoors in nature benefits the whole child. Research demonstrates that children's cognitive, physical, and social development, as well as their mental well-being are enhanced from experiences in a natural environment (Gill, 2019;Kemple et al., 2016). The relationship between time spent outdoors and children's physical activity is well documented (Larouche et al., 2019). ...
... Resumidamente, o tempo gasto ao ar livre na natureza beneficia a criança no seu todo. A investigação demonstra que o desenvolvimento cognitivo, físico e social das crianças, bem como o seu bem-estar mental, são favorecidos pelas experiências em ambientes naturais (Gill, 2019;Kemple et al., 2016). A relação entre o tempo passado ao ar livre e a atividade física das crianças está bem documentada (Larouche et al., 2019). ...
... There are also studies on the outdoor spaces of residential environments and urban spaces that bring both adults (Imrie, 2005;Vukovic et al., 2021) and children to the forefront (Sivri-G€ okmen, 2006;Spencer and Woolley, 2000). The studies that feature children are conducted on specific spaces, such as natural environments, playgrounds or other outdoor living spaces in residential areas, and many of them focus on an individual environmental factor, such as furnishings, colors, geometry, quality, user variety, comfort levels or safety (Bjorklid, 1982(Bjorklid, , 1994Brown, 1994;Brown and Burger, 1984;Harker, 2007;Hart, 1993;Kemple et al., 2016;Pitsikali et al., 2020). However, there are still not enough studies that focus holistically on environmental factors, including the spatial, physical and functional dimensions, that affect the social interaction of children in outdoor living spaces. ...
Article
Purpose Social interaction has a vital role in the healthy development of children. Growing up without a family for children – who are called “children in need of protection” (CNP) in this study – can cause developmental disorders. Social interaction with their peers and with society is important for their well-being, as well as for the whole society. So, for the good of both, more appropriate and supportive living environments should be produced. In this study, the authors will try to answer the question: How do environmental factors affect the social interaction of CNP in outdoor spaces within a village-type settlement? Design/methodology/approach A children's village is chosen as the case area since the children's village typology provides a strong relation between indoor and outdoor spaces. Data are gathered through the review of visual and written materials and systematic observation in order to analyze the issue in a natural setting. Findings The output of this study underlays the effects of location, layout and characteristics of residential areas at the neighborhood scale, as well as the spatial, physical and functional factors at the singular-space scale. The intentional social function of the space was found to be the strongest factor in enhancing social interaction. Originality/value There are no adequate studies focusing holistically on environmental factors in outdoor living spaces, including spatial, physical and functional dimensions, that affect the social interaction of children in need of protection.
... Play in natural environments (forests, shorelines, lakes, and fields) benefits children's development, offering novel stimuli and enticing engagement in physical activity (Kemple et al., 2016). Further, it affords children opportunities to learn to overcome obstacles encountered during play (Fjørtoft, 2004) and helps them develop connections to nature and pro-sociality (Dopko et al., 2019). ...
Article
Amid a dearth of research exploring children’s stories of their play in natural environments, we conducted go-along interviews with 105 children aged 10-13 years in Metro Vancouver, Canada. We used narrative inquiry to explore how natural environments shaped their experiences and influenced their development of microcultures. Our thematic narrative analysis resulted in twothemes: (1) children played in natural environments to which they had sentimental attachments; and (2) children developed microcultures away fromadults. We explored the sentimental and purposeful elements of natural environments that children actively use to develop their microcultures.
... That is, while this connection is rooted in an early recognition of the human need to "accumulate energies and to spend them, even to waste them in play" [48] (p. 147), more recently, physical play has been further recognised for its contribution to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional health and wellbeing of children [49][50][51][52][53][54] and, more specifically, how these benefits are conferred to children as a "right", such as a right to a [child-friendly] city. ...
Article
Full-text available
The interaction between air quality and play space receives less focus in planning than it has in public health and environmental sciences research. In this paper, seven local planning authorities of inner London (UK) were sampled from the 10 boroughs with the worst air quality in parks. Greenwich, with significantly better air quality, was included for comparison. The selected authorities were validated against deprivation data, ensuring variance in socio-economic terms. Across this sample, 21 major residential planning applications were assessed, alongside a document analysis of planning policy documents for each authority. Lastly, five semi-structured interviews with different practitioners collectively provided multi-disciplinary perspectives on the planning processes across the sample. Despite the national government having conferred children a right to leisure space and a healthy environment via international conventions, the English planning system, as an institutional rights framework, is not consistently prioritising the delivery of children’s play space nor delivering play space where the air quality has been robustly assessed. In other words, such rights have been subjugated to other priorities in limited urban space in London. Therefore, a discretionary planning system does not preclude individual human rights from becoming disadvantaged under democratically controlled decision-making processes.
... The longitudinal benefits of Outdoor Learning are numerous, building upon the previously mentioned physical, cognitive [45] and emotional health benefits in general [46,47]. Outdoor Learning has been proven to foster communication, reasoning, and interactional abilities [48,49], whilst also enhancing 21st century skills such as resilience [50,51], collaboration [52], conflict resolution, and self-regulation [53][54][55][56][57][58][59]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Outdoor Learning in natural environments is a burgeoning approach in the educational sector. However, the evidence-base of research has not kept pace with teacher perceptions and increased practitioner usage. Anecdotal evidence and formal research suggest the significant health and wellbeing benefits of nature connection. Offering low-cost, non-invasive pedagogical solutions to public health challenges—particularly around mental health, wellbeing, physical literacy, and increasing physical activity–the pedagogical benefits of Outdoor Learning are yet to be fully enunciated. The proposed systematic review will search for studies across eight academic databases which measure the academic and socio-emotional benefits of Outdoor Learning, with a focus on school-aged educational settings. Using the inclusion criteria set out in this paper (and registered with PROSPERO: CRD42020153171), relevant studies will be identified then summarised to provide a synthesis of the current literature on Outdoor Learning. The goal of this review is to document the widespread international investigation into Outdoor Learning and its associated benefits for development, wellbeing, and personal growth. The systematic review will provide insights for teacher-training institutions, educational policy makers, and frontline teachers to improve the learning experiences of future students.
Article
There is a growing body of evidence to support the benefits of physical activity on children’s cognitions and behavior. Although children with ADHD are known to be at risk for deficits in cognitive processing, specifically executive functioning which controls the organization, regulation, and planning of behavior, little evidence exists about the effect of vigorous physical activity on executive functioning and the accompanying behavioral and inattention symptoms of ADHD. Given the overwhelming research supporting the need for early intervention in this population and the dearth of research examining the effects of physical activity in children, the present study investigated the effects of a 16 week physical activity intervention in an elementary sample of typical-developing children as well as those at-risk for ADHD. The findings indicated no significant relationship between the physical activity intervention and beneficial outcomes for student executive functioning or ADHD symptomology, although a moderator effect was found for low and high intensity on student executive functioning suggesting that low and high intensity physical activity may improve student executive functioning. Implications for school personnel are provided given the study findings.
Chapter
Full-text available
ir eğitimci de olsa çocuğuna bugün okul nasıl geçti diye sorduğunda muhtemelen “normal dün�den çok farklı değil”, “hep aynı hep aynı” gibi benzer cevaplar alır. Peki özellikle günümüzde pandemi döneminde zorunlu uzaktan eğitim sürecinde ders alan çocuğuna aynı soruyu sorduğuda nasıl cevaplar alır? Hemen hemen aynı cevapları alır. Yeniliğin etkisiyle belki farklı cevaplar da duyulabilmektedir. Uzaktan eğitim, her ne kadar örgün eğitimdeki etkinliklerle, oyunlarla ve zengin içeriklerle desteklense de belli bir süre sonra öğrenenler, uzaktan eğitim ortamından sıkılmaya başlayacak ve dikkat dağınıklığı başlayacaklardır. Uzaktan eğitim, sadece öğrenenlerin öğrenme ihtiyaçlarını karşılayan bir ortam olarak düşünüldüğü sürece sıkılma ve dikkat dağınıklığı durumu hiçbir zaman değişmeyecektir. Uzaktan eğitim ortamlarının tasarımı en fazla üzerinde çalışılan noktalardan biridir. Öğrenenin her ihti�yaç duyduğunda ulaşabileceği bir öğrenme merkezi olarak tasarlanarak, bir birini takip eden etkinlikler ve içerikler sunularak çekiciliği, verimliliği artırılmaya çalışılmalıdır. Öğrenenin kendi içsel dürtüleri ile bu etkinlikleri tamamlamaya iten mekaniklerin, unsurların içinde bulunması ile sağlanabileceği düşü�nülmektedir. Uzaktan eğitim ortamlarını ilgi çekici, etkili ve verimli hale getirmek için kullanılabilecek metotlardan bir tanesi de öğretmenlerin sınıfta fazlaca kullanmayı tercih ettiği oyunlaştırma gelmekte�dir. Bu bölümde oyun ve oyunlaştırmanın tanımı, oyunlaştırmanın eğitim içerisinde kullanılması, oyunlaştırma çerçeveleri, oyunlaştırma çerçevelerinde kullanılan bileşenler, uzaktan eğitim ortamlarında oyunlaştırma gerçekleştirilebilecek oyunlaştırma yazılımları, oyunlaştırma yazarlık yazılımlarından bah�sedilmektedir.
Article
Full-text available
Several studies in the Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon countries have shown a decline in outdoor activities and contact with nature during childhood. In Latin countries, these studies are still missing. A total of 562 urban children from Lisbon (Portugal) and 303 of their parents took part in the present study, which mainly aimed to compare the intergenerational engagement in outdoor activities. The results showed a decrease in children’s outdoor activities during the weekdays, weekends and summer holidays. Activities like picking berries, collecting rocks and fossils or climbing trees appear to be rarely performed nowadays. Furthermore, the results suggested that schools are no longer playing a role in promoting outdoor activities and children are spending their leisure time indoors, using technological devices or going shopping. Finally, the decline in outdoor activities seems to affect boys and girls equally. Several implications are discussed and recommendations for parents, teachers and politicians are proposed.
Article
Full-text available
Free play is important in early childhood and offers physical and mental health benefits. Outdoor play offers opportunity for children to use natural elements and promotes physical activity, among other health benefits, including exploring their environment and taking risks. Risky outdoor play may involve challenges, heights, speed, and the potential for injury, but has been associated with increased physical activity levels, decreased sedentary behaviour, improved mental health, and social benefits. The integration of loose parts, or open-ended, unstructured materials, into play environments, has been associated with positive social behaviours, creativity, and improved problem-solving, confidence, and resilience. As opportunities for risky play in early childhood are determined by adults, including early childhood educators, it is important to understand their perspectives on these types of play. The purpose of this study was to explore early childhood educators' perspectives of risky play, in the context of the Physical Literacy in the Early Years (PLEY) intervention. PLEY was a mixed methods study that aimed to evaluate a loose parts intervention in early childcare settings. This paper used Qualitative Description to explore educators' perspectives. Data were collected from 15 focus groups with early childhood educators. Four themes were identified through thematic analysis. The first explains how risky play with loose parts contributes to evolution in educator perceptions; the second describes how educators' perceptions of risk are connected to institutions and systems; the third illustrates how educators developed strategies to facilitate risky play with loose parts; and the fourth demonstrates how educators perceive risky play as beneficial for children's healthy development. This project highlights societal shifts in play and how loose parts and risky play fit into the ongoing evolution in play, from the perspectives of early childhood educators.
Article
Full-text available
La base comprensiva de la motricidad como condición y capacidad que permite al ser humano en general y a la infancia en particular, desarrollarse en plenitud. Consecuentemente, presentamos una propuesta de actuación pedagógica intencional y trascendente, cuyo énfasis es precisamente considerar las manifestaciones de la motricidad y juego en la primera infancia, ampliando el aprendizaje más allá de los límites de la institucionalidad educativa formal. Desde esta perspectiva, se releva el valor articulador del juego familiar, como base de la constitución de identidad personal y epistémica de niños y niñas en esta etapa del vivir. Posicionar el jugar como un proceso epistémico primordial de lo humano desde un enfoque enactivo, y proponer principios de acción que refuercen una crianza segura y educativa, es el objetivo del presente estudio. Finalmente, destacamos la importancia que adquiere el estudio de las condiciones que ofrecen, en el contexto chileno, tanto la familia (como primera comunidad educativa) y el jardín infantil, para el despliegue y manifestación del jugar centrado en los procesos de relación, y constitución de conocimientos desde las características afectivas que dichos procesos conllevan, posibilitando el reconocimiento e integración de las epistemologías infantiles como criterios orientadores para repensar la educación, de manera que ésta fluya coherente y autoorganizadamente con las potencialidades tempranas de niños y niñas en el despliegue de la imaginación, el gozo, la creatividad, y la libertad.
Chapter
Researchers have extensively explored the quality and type of experiences preschoolers have in different types of out-of-home care. However, the experiences of preschoolers who are not enrolled in any type of out-of-home care but instead are cared for by their parents remain under-researched. In fact, although there is scarce literature on time-use, that is on the number of hours mothers and/or fathers may spend with their children, we know little about if this time is quality time and how it is spent. At the same time, the limited research on stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs) suggests that their experiences are also absent from the literature. Drawing on this ignorance of experiences of children and their SAHMs, who come from diverse value contexts, the present study aims at filling research gaps and at questioning dominant discourses about early childhood, parenting and parent support provision by presenting the lived experiences of this frequently underrepresented group. Specifically, by presenting the effects of a self-developed community of learners outdoors, which consisted of a group of four SAHMs who visited almost daily, for almost a year, one particular playground with their toddlers, the study highlights the need to re-conceptualize early childhood, parenting (time use) and parenting support. The results not only highlight the effects of this outdoor play experience on children and their mothers but also move away the deficit model that is frequently adopted to parenting and parenting support provision policy and practice and highlights parents’ role as advocates for their children’s well-being at the present. In addition, the study reveals that childhood is taking place during everyday relations and exchanges in the natural and social environment, rather than it is protected in a separate space which is isolated from the ecosystem that surrounds children.
Article
Full-text available
Background: In the past, the open space and yards in houses provided possibility for children to play, do activities and connect with nature; But lifestyle changes and the prevalence of apartment living have posed challenges to children's physical and mental health, such as social isolation, inactivity, and disconnection from nature. In this situation, proper design of open spaces in residential complexes can replace the yard and open space in the past. Objectives: Due to the importance of open space of residential complexes in the healthy physical and psychological growth of children, this research seeks to investigate the compliance of open space of Amin residential complexes with the approach of "child-friendly city" and its promotion through children's participation. Methodology: This research is applied. The content analysis method used 30 interviews with parents and children and 30 drawings drawn by children in the age range of 7-12 years. The interviews were conducted based on the conceptual model derived from literature and background. Results: In the case study, safety, space, and land use categories are the most considered and repeated, but the child's activity and participation have the least repetition. Also, the concepts of communication with nature, green space and play space for group games have the most attention and interest among children. Conclusion: Based on analysis of findings and Children's participation, development of green play, and teaching spaces in the open space of residential complexes, designing children's transit routes, development of participatory activities between adults, and children, and provision of essential and required services for children in residential complexes can develop, and improve the child's friendly open space. Keywords: Child Friendly City Open space Open space of residential complex Amin Residential Complex
Book
Cambridge Core - Life Science Professional Development - Broader Impacts of Science on Society - by Bruce J. MacFadden
Article
Full-text available
This qualitative case study explored how early childhood teachers’ beliefs and practices influence the function of preschool outdoor play. Teachers believed that supervision was paramount. They perceived that the physical design of the outdoor environment posed limitations for planning, preparation, and implementation. Teachers’ recollections of their own childhood outdoor activities provided a shared value of freedom during play. Yet, during outdoor play teachers displayed an adherence to rules or a “philosophy-reality conflict” (Hatch & Freeman, 1988, p. 158). Teachers believed that outdoor play is important to the development of young children; however, minimal knowledge of outdoor play and motivation to promote it was not evident.
Article
Full-text available
Research Findings: The present study investigated whether active play during recess was associated with self-regulation and academic achievement in a prekindergarten sample. A total of 51 children in classes containing approximately half Head Start children were assessed on self-regulation, active play, and early academic achievement. Path analyses indicated that higher active play was associated with better self-regulation, which in turn was associated with higher scores on early reading and math assessments. Practice or Policy: Results point to the benefits of active play for promoting self-regulation and offer insight into possible interventions designed to promote self-regulation and academic achievement.
Article
Full-text available
A growing body of literature indicates that humans need contact with nature for their wellbeing, however at the same time young children are becoming increasingly separated from the natural world as their access to the outdoors diminishes. The importance of school and prior-to-school settings in connecting children with nature has been acknowledged. This study sought to find out how opportunities to engage with nature would influence children's play and social behaviours. Two early childhood centres with contrasting outdoor environments were selected for the study, and twelve focus participants were observed over a twelve-week period in concert with interviews and field notes. The findings suggest that natural environments support children's imaginative play, the development of positive relationships and allows for the environment to become a place of learning. The authors conclude that in order to make effective use of the outdoors, early childhood centres need to provide children with access to the natural environment and teachers who support children in developing a relationship with nature.
Article
Full-text available
Executive Summary: A growing body of literature suggests that children today are spending less time outdoors than their predecessors. This assertion, however, is confounded by the absence of a baseline for detecting trends in children’s activities and time spent outdoors. The U.S.D.A. Forest Service initiated the National Kids Survey to address this problem. This general population random digit dialing telephone survey reached 1,450 U.S. households with children from 2007-2009. A proxy household member (e.g. parent or guardian) age 20 or older spoke for children between the ages 6 and 15. Teens between ages 16 and 19 were interviewed directly. Participants were asked about a variety of topics including time children spend outdoors, common outdoor activities, and reasons for not spending time outdoors. Data showed that, in general, most children (> 62.5%) spent at least two hours of time outdoors daily. Results also indicated that children spent either more time (39.5%) or about the same amount of time (44.8%) outdoors this year as they did last year. Males, younger children, and Hispanics spent more time outside than other demographic groups. Playing or simply hanging out was the most common outdoor activity (84.0% of respondents). Other common activities included biking, jogging, or running (79.9%) and using electronic media outdoors (65.3%). Children participated in outdoor nature-based activities less frequently than many alternatives. Interest in other activities such as listening to music, art, or reading (57.0%), watching TV, DVDs, or playing video games (48.1%), and using electronic media including internet and texting (47.8%) were the most common reason for not spending time outside. African American and Hispanic respondents cited more reasons for not going outside than other racial/ethnic groups. Comparisons using contingency coefficients showed that children’s outdoor time on weekdays, weekend days, and time spent outdoors relative to last year was strongly correlated with the amount of time their parents/guardians were spending outdoors. Results suggest that, contrary to popular beliefs, many children today are spending a substantial amount of time outdoors. However, the nature of children’s outdoor time may be changing. For example, playing or hanging out, physical activities, and technology-centered activities are more popular than nature-based activities. Electronic media consumption and parental involvement in outdoor recreation activities seem to be important factors influencing children’s time outdoors. Future research efforts should continue to monitor these trends and measure the frequency and type of children’s outdoor activities across diverse recreation settings. To remain relevant in the lives of American youth, park and recreation professionals could use instruments such as the National Kids Survey to adapt current services and develop innovative outdoor recreation opportunities that appeal to multiple audiences.
Article
Full-text available
Almost 150 years ago, nineteenth century psychologist Herbert Spencer published his book, Principals of Psychology, in which he espoused the "surplus energy theory," explaining that the main reason for children's play is to get rid of surplus energy. Although researchers and developmental theorists have rejected his theory, it has had an unfortunate and lasting influence on the design of children's outdoor play environments (Malone 2003). As a result of Spencer's theory, playgrounds are seen as areas for physical play during recess, where children 'burn off steam,' and not for the other domains of development or for learning. In child care settings, playgrounds typically have manufactured climbing equipment, and other than sometimes- manicured grass, are void of nature and vegetation. The playgrounds for multitudes of children are not green, but gray (Moore & Wong 1997), many analogous to a parking lot (Worth 2003). Early childhood learning facility designers' and directors' point-of-view that playgrounds should be designed for surveillance of children, ease of maintenance and to have a break from children, rather than stimulate the children themselves, has also contributed to the barren design of outdoor childcare environments where there is neither shade, shelter nor opportunities to interact with nature (McKendrick, Bradford & Fielder 2000, Cheskey 2001, Malone 2003). Playground design also reflects a lack of understanding of how quality outdoor play environments can provide children rich educational opportunities, particularly in the area of social skills and environmental learning (Evan 1997). Roger Hart, a noted developmental psychologist, attributes much of the problem to an underestimation of the importance of play to children; that it is considered discretionary rather than essential to child development, and that this misguided concept of play has trickled down into the play areas we create for children, resulting in lackluster environments with little value (Shell 1994).
Article
Full-text available
This study discusses the extent to which children in the USA today participate in active, outdoor play, compared with the previous generation. Eight hundred and thirty mothers nationwide were surveyed regarding their active, outdoor play experiences as children, as well as their children's play experiences today. The mother's play experiences, compared with the child's, clearly indicate that children today spend considerably less time playing outdoors than their mothers did as children. The study reveals several fundamental reasons for this decline, including dependence on television and digital media, and concerns about crime and safety. The study also conveys findings related to the frequent use of electronic diversions and discusses several suggestions for early childhood professionals, classroom teachers, and parents for fostering the child's enjoyment for outdoor play.
Article
Full-text available
Attention Restoration Theory suggests that contact with nature supports attentional functioning, and a number of studies have found contact with everyday nature to be related to attention in adults. Is contact with everyday nature also related to the attentional functioning of children? This question was addressed through a study focusing on children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). This study examined the relationship between children’s nature exposure through leisure activities and their attentional functioning using both within and between-subjects comparisons. Parents were surveyed regarding their child’s attentional functioning after activities in several settings. Results indicate that children function better than usual after activities in green settings and that the “greener” a child’s play area, the less severe his or her attention deficit symptoms. Thus, contact with nature may support attentional functioning in a population of children who desperately need attentional support.
Article
Full-text available
Children growing up in the inner city are at risk for a range of negative developmental outcomes. Do barren, inner-city neighborhood spaces compromise the everyday activities and experiences necessary for healthy development? Sixty-four urban public housing outdoor spaces (27 low vegetation, 37 high vegetation) were observed on four separate occasions. Overall, inner-city children's everyday activities and access to adults appeared remarkably healthy; of the 262 children observed, most (73%) were involved in some type of play, and most groups of children (87%) were supervised to some degree. In relatively barren spaces, however, the picture was considerably less optimistic: Levels of play and access to adults were approximately half as much as those found in spaces with more trees and grass, and the incidence of creative play was significantly lower in barren spaces than in relatively green spaces.
Article
Full-text available
Structured, open-ended interviews were conducted with 30 environmentalists in Kentucky and 26 in Norway (35 men, 21 women) who represented a broad range of issues, from wilderness protection to urban planning, to determine the sources of their environmental commitment. Experiences of natural areas, family influences, organizations, negative experiences, and education were mentioned most often. People were also asked about the period in life when significant experiences occurred, and on this basis, a typical life path of predominant sources of commitment at different ages was constructed. Respondents also recommended strategies for effective environmental action.
Article
Full-text available
Sorry, there is no abstract. Read the first few lines of the text instead!
Article
Full-text available
Identifying mechanisms that buffer children from life's stress and adversity is an important empirical and practical concern. This study focuses on nature as a buffer of life stress among rural children. To examine whether vegetation near the residential environment might buffer or moderate the impact of stressful life events on children's psychological well-being, data were collected from 337 rural children in Grades 3 through 5 (mean age=9.2 years). Dependent variables include a standard parent-reported measure of children's psychological distress and children's own ratings of global self-worth. In a rural setting, levels of nearby nature moderate the impact of stressful life events on the psychological well-being of children. Specifically, the impact of life stress was lower among children with high levels of nearby nature than among those with little nearby nature. Implications of these finding are discussed with respect to our understanding of resilience and protective mechanisms.
Article
Full-text available
The objective of this epidemiological study was to evaluate the effect of length of sunlight exposure on interleukin 6 (IL-6) levels in depressive and non-depressive subjects. This was a cross-sectional study with 154 subjects (54 males, mean age: 43.5 ± 12.8 years) who were living in a rural area in south Brazil. Chronobiological and light parameters were assessed using the Munich Chronotype Questionnaire. Sleep quality was evaluated using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Depressive symptoms were assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory. Plasma levels of inflammatory cytokines (IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor-α, and interferon) were collected during the daytime and measured. IL-6 levels showed a positive correlation with light exposure (r = 0.257; p < 0.001) and a negative correlation with the mid-sleep phase on work-free days (r = -0.177; p = 0.028). Multiple linear regression analysis showed that only the length of light exposure was an independent factor for predicting IL-6 levels (ß = 0.26; p = 0.002). In non-depressed subjects, exposure to a different intensity of light did not affect IL-6 levels (t = -1.6; p = 0.1). However, when the two depressive groups with low and high light exposure were compared, the low light exposure group had lower levels of IL-6 compared with the high light exposure group (t = -2.19 and p = 0.0037). The amount of time that participants are exposed to sunlight is directly related to their IL-6 levels. Additionally, depressed subjects differ in their IL-6 levels if they are exposed to light for differing amounts of time.
Article
Full-text available
Background Obese and overweight people have a higher risk of both chronic physical illness and mental illness. Obesity is reported to be positively associated with psychiatric disorders, especially in people who seek obesity treatment. At the same time, obesity treatment may be influenced by psychological factors or personality characteristics. This study aimed to understand the prevalence of mental disorders among ethnic Chinese who sought obesity treatment. Methods Subjects were retrospectively recruited from an obesity treatment center in Taiwan. The obesity treatments included bariatric surgery and non-surgery treatment. All subjects underwent a standardized clinical evaluation with two questionnaires and a psychiatric referral when needed. The psychiatric diagnosis was made thorough psychiatric clinic interviews using the SCID. A total of 841 patients were recruited. We compared the difference in psychiatric disorder prevalence between patients with surgical and non-surgical treatment. Results Of the 841 patients, 42% had at least one psychiatric disorder. Mood disorders, anxiety disorders and eating disorders were the most prevalent categories of psychiatric disorders. Females had more mood disorders and eating disorders than males. The surgical group had more binge-eating disorder, adjustment disorder, and sleep disorders than the non-surgical group. Conclusion A high prevalence of psychiatric disorders was found among ethnic Chinese seeking obesity treatment. This is consistent with study results in the US and Europe.
Article
Full-text available
The present study explored how a natural environment in Norway provides a stimulating playscape for kindergarten children, and how different features in the landscape afforded play activities. The impact of such outdoor activities on children’s motor fitness was tested, and a better improvement was found in the experimental group compared to the reference group. Significant differences (p<. 01) were found in balance and co-ordination abilities. The study indicated a probable relation between all-round play in the natural environment and the effect on motor development in the children. Key words: Children and environment, landscape as playscape, play habitats for children, affordances for play, motor development.
Article
Full-text available
Sustainable design has made great strides in recent years; unfortunately, it still falls short of fully integrating nature into our built environment. Through a groundbreaking new paradigm of "restorative environmental design," award-winning author Stephen R. Kellert proposes a new architectural model of sustainability. In Building For Life, Kellert examines the fundamental interconnectedness of people and nature, and how the loss of this connection results in a diminished quality of life. This thoughtful new work illustrates how architects and designers can use simple methods to address our innate needs for contact with nature. Through the use of natural lighting, ventilation, and materials, as well as more unexpected methodologies-the use of metaphor, perspective, enticement, and symbol-architects can greatly enhance our daily lives. These design techniques foster intellectual development, relaxation, and physical and emotional well-being. In the works of architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen, Cesar Pelli, Norman Foster, and Michael Hopkins, Kellert sees the success of these strategies and presents models for moving forward. Ultimately, Kellert views our fractured relationship with nature as a design problem rather than an unavoidable aspect of modern life, and he proposes many practical and creative solutions for cultivating a more rewarding experience of nature in our built environment.
Article
Full-text available
In the general population, attention is reliably enhanced after exposure to certain physical environments, particularly natural environments. This study examined the impacts of environments on attention in children with ADHD. In this within subjects design, each participant experienced each of three treatments (environments) in single blind controlled trials. Seventeen children 7 to 12 years old professionally diagnosed with ADHD experienced each of three environments-a city park and two other well-kept urban settings-via individually guided 20-minute walks. Environments were experienced 1 week apart, with randomized assignment to treatment order. After each walk, concentration was measured using Digit Span Backwards. Children with ADHD concentrated better after the walk in the park than after the downtown walk (p = .0229) or the neighborhood walk (p = .0072). Effect sizes were substantial (Cohen's d =.52 and .77, respectively) and comparable to those reported for recent formulations of methylphenidate. Twenty minutes in a park setting was sufficient to elevate attention performance relative to the same amount of time in other settings. These findings indicate that environments can enhance attention not only in the general population but also in ADHD populations. "Doses of nature" might serve as a safe, inexpensive, widely accessible new tool in the tool kit for managing ADHD symptoms.
Article
Full-text available
Given the recent spate of reports of vitamin D deficiency, there is a need to reexamine our understanding of natural and other sources of vitamin D, as well as mechanisms whereby vitamin D synthesis and intake can be optimized. This state-of-the-art report from the Drug and Therapeutics Committee of the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society was aimed to perform this task and also reviews recommendations for sun exposure and vitamin D intake and possible caveats associated with these recommendations.
Article
Full-text available
We examined the impact of relatively "green" or natural settings on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms across diverse subpopulations of children. Parents nationwide rated the aftereffects of 49 common after-school and weekend activities on children's symptoms. Aftereffects were compared for activities conducted in green outdoor settings versus those conducted in both built outdoor and indoor settings. In this national, nonprobability sample, green outdoor activities reduced symptoms significantly more than did activities conducted in other settings, even when activities were matched across settings. Findings were consistent across age, gender, and income groups; community types; geographic regions; and diagnoses. Green outdoor settings appear to reduce ADHD symptoms in children across a wide range of individual, residential, and case characteristics.
Article
Full-text available
The prevalence of childhood asthma in the USA increased by 50% from 1980 to 2000, with especially high prevalence in poor urban communities. Data on the prevalence of asthma among children aged 4-5 years and on hospitalisations for asthma among children less than 15 years old were available for 42 health service catchment areas within New York City. Street tree counts were provided by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The proximity to pollution sources, sociodemographic characteristics and population density for each area were also measured. Controlling for potential confounders, an increase in tree density of 1 standard deviation (SD, 343 trees/km(2)) was associated with a lower prevalence of asthma (RR, 0.71 per SD of tree density; 95% CI, 0.64 to 0.79), but not with hospitalisations for asthma (RR, 0.89 per SD of tree density; 95% CI, 0.75 to 1.06). Street trees were associated with a lower prevalence of early childhood asthma. This study does not permit inference that trees are causally related to asthma at the individual level. The PlaNYC sustainability initiative, which includes a commitment to plant one million trees by the year 2017, offers an opportunity for a large prospective evaluation.
Article
What can I do to add richness and variety to play and learning opportunities for young children? Will I have to redesign the playground? This highly accessible text will provide early years practitioners with a wealth of ideas on how to foster creative play and learning in the outdoor environment with a focus on interacting with the natural world. Included in this text are many simple ideas on the type of materials that can be added to encourage observation, exploration, and dramatic play, as well as guidance on what early years practitioners can do to help children meet early development and academic goals through outdoor learning activities. Relating to everyday early years settings throughout, the author of this inspirational text addresses topics such as: Gardening with young children, Choosing plants for safety, variety, and active learning, Making outdoor activities and play spaces accessible for children with disabilities, Involving parents in appreciating and developing the outdoor space and outdoor activities, Dealing with fears, safety, and comfort issues. Providing positive experiences with the natural environment is presented in an effective way to foster child growth and learning and for developing environmentally responsible attitudes, values, and behaviors. This book is recommended for all early years practitioners and students.
A concept associated with ecopsychology is that children are born with a sense of relatedness to their environments, and through the processes of socialization they acquire a sense of separateness from environments, including the natural environment. Young children were asked about their views concerning several aspects of the natural environment. The data suggest that young children are constructing understandings concerning the relationship of humans to the natural world. This implies that their educational experiences can shape and augment their conception of relatedness to the natural world.
Article
... children were attracted to outdoor spaces with higher levels of trees and grass (Coley, Kuo, & Sullivan , 1997 ... Wells, a public housing development in Chicago, Illinois . ... of the families in Ida B. Wells receive Aid to Families with Dependent Children (Chicago Housing Authority, 1992 ...
Article
The purpose of this paper is to examine changes between 1981 and 1997 in how a representative sample of American children spends their time on a weekly basis, focusing on overall differences in time use. We also examine how the time of specific children varies depending on the age and gender of the child, presence of and employment status of parents, the number of children in the family, and the level of parental education. Data come from the Time Use Longitudinal Panel Study, 1975–1981 and the 1997 Child Development Supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Results show a pattern of increased time in structured activities such as school, day care, sports, and art activities, and reduced time in unstructured play, television viewing, visiting, and passive leisure. While a few of these changes are related to increased maternal employment, most tend to be related to demographic characteristics such as increased education and reduced family size.
Article
The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a traditional recess on the subsequent classroom behavior of children with a diagnosis of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In addition, the time of recess was matched to the behavior of the individual children diagnosed with ADHD based on prior assessment of their class-room behavior as a function of time of confinement in the classroom. All results were evaluated using single-case designs. Results showed that levels of inappropriate behavior were consistently higher on days when participants did not have recess, compared with days when they did have recess. Results also showed that the level of inappropriate behavior for all participants progressively increased over time on days when they did not have recess. However, this progressive increase did not occur on days when the participants had recess.
Article
Observed the playground behavior and social interaction of 27 kindergarten children in a university laboratory school, focusing on the children's ability to successfully negotiate social interactions. Found that communication skills, ability to recognize and understand others' emotions and needs, and self-confidence are critical to positive social development. (MDM)
Article
Although the term "risk-taking" often has negative connotations, the reality is that the willingness to engage in some risky activities provides opportunities to learn new skills, try new behaviours and ultimately reach our potential. Challenge and risk, in particular during outdoor play, allows children to test the limits of their physical, intellectual and social development. This paper examines the current status of outdoor play in urbanised, Western societies such as Australia and provides a critical analysis of the literature to present an argument for the inclusion of positive risk-taking experiences in children's outdoor play, principally in the context of early childhood education. The increasingly restrictive regulation of early childhood services is considered in terms of the impact of risk avoidance in outdoor play for children's optimal growth and development. Finally, a model of possible developmental outcomes resulting from the minimisation of risk-taking in early childhood contexts is proposed. (Contains 1 figure.)
Article
Argues that while children seem to be spending less time physically in natural surroundings, they also seem to worry more about the disappearance of nature in a global sense. (CCM)
Article
Analyzed the pretend play (PRP) behaviors of 80 children (aged 4–11 yrs) on contemporary and traditional playgrounds. After being observed on the playgrounds, Ss completed a divergent thinking skills test to assess the degree of creativity present at the 2 playgrounds and to see if there was a relationship between PRP, creativity, and playground design. Three interrelated hypotheses were tested in the study: (1) more PRP would occur on the outdoor contemporary design than on the outdoor traditional design; (2) PRP would be positively correlated with creativity; and (3) more creativity would be observed after playing on the contemporary playground than after playing on the traditional playground. Support was found for each of the 3 hypotheses. Results show that only a few minutes on a contemporary playground appeared to facilitate more PRP play and more creative ways of thinking than the same number of minutes on a traditional playground. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The nearby natural environment plays a far more significant role in the well-being of children residing in poor urban environments than has previously been recognized. Using a premove/postmove longitudinal design, this research explores the linkage between the naturalness or restorativeness of the home environment and the cognitive functioning of 17 low-income urban children (aged 7–12 yrs). Both before and after relocation, objective measures of naturalness were used along with a standardized instrument (the Attention Deficit Disorders Evaluation Scale) measuring the children's cognitive functioning. Results show that children whose homes improved the most in terms of greenness following relocation also tended to have the highest levels of cognitive functioning following the move. The implications with respect to policy and design are also discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The child care playground is a landmark site where landscape architects can contribute their skills in a broad and meaningful way. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) states that over 5 million children under the age of five are in out-of-home care settings in the United States. The playground at the child care center has become the surrogate backyard known to a previous generation. Unfortunately, the outdoor environment of these centers typically consists of isolated pieces of equipment in a mono-culture of grass. This `place-less' equipment-based approach to designing play grounds does not speak to the qualities of being outdoors. Additionally, the equipment primarily addresses the physical development of the child. Children's social, emotional, and cognitive development must also be considered. Design processes that explore ways to support other types of development and include the unique aspects of the outdoors are greatly needed to produce quality environments for children. This paper describes a research project conducted in the outdoor play yards at the Child Development Laboratory, Iowa State University. The research hypothesizes that the installation of natural material and other landscape elements into the existing yards will offer additional types of child development (i.e., social, emotional, cognitive). This research involved a `landscape-based' approach to design. Data collection included video documentation and anecdotal field notes of the children (ranging from 2–6 years old) playing in the yards. Qualitative analysis of these data revealed that the installation of plant material and other landscape elements did provide for additional realms of development that where not provided in the existing yards.
Article
Four studies examined the effects of nature on valuing intrinsic and extrinsic aspirations. Intrinsic aspirations reflected prosocial and other-focused value orientations, and extrinsic aspirations predicted self-focused value orientations. Participants immersed in natural environments reported higher valuing of intrinsic aspirations and lower valuing of extrinsic aspirations, whereas those immersed in non-natural environments reported increased valuing of extrinsic aspirations and no change of intrinsic aspirations. Three studies explored experiences of nature relatedness and autonomy as underlying mechanisms of these effects, showing that nature immersion elicited these processes whereas non-nature immersion thwarted them and that they in turn predicted higher intrinsic and lower extrinsic aspirations. Studies 3 and 4 also extended the paradigm by testing these effects on generous decision making indicative of valuing intrinsic versus extrinsic aspirations.
Article
Available studies of the built environment and the BMI of children and youth suggest a contemporaneous association with neighborhood greenness in neighborhoods with high population density. The current study tests whether greenness and residential density are independently associated with 2-year changes in the BMI of children and youth. The sample included children and youth aged 3-16 years who lived at the same address for 24 consecutive months and received well-child care from a Marion County IN clinic network within the years 1996-2002 (n=3831). Multiple linear regression was used to examine associations among age- and gender-specific BMI z-scores in Year 2, residential density, and a satellite-derived measure of greenness, controlling for baseline BMI z-scores and other covariates. Logistic regression was used to model associations between an indicator of BMI z-score increase from baseline to Time 2 and the above-mentioned predictors. Higher greenness was significantly associated with lower BMI z-scores at Time 2 regardless of residential density characteristics. Higher residential density was not associated with Time 2 BMI z-scores in models regardless of greenness. Higher greenness was also associated with lower odds of children's and youth's increasing their BMI z-scores over 2 years (OR=0.87; 95% CI=0.79, 0.97). Greenness may present a target for environmental approaches to preventing child obesity. Children and youth living in greener neighborhoods had lower BMI z-scores at Time 2, presumably due to increased physical activity or time spent outdoors. Conceptualizations of walkability from adult studies, based solely on residential density, may not be relevant to children and youth in urban environments.
Article
Although many serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) receptors have been identified, our knowledge of many of the subtypes is limited. However, we do know that 5-HT1A agonists are involved in the treatment of certain anxiety disorders, that 5-HT1C and 5-HT2 receptor antagonists may be indicated for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, and that 5-HT1D receptor agonists are used in the treatment of migraine. Recent research has identified that various abnormalities in serotonergic function are involved in the pathogenesis of depression and anxiety, and has facilitated the development of new pharmacological agents with great therapeutic potential, for example the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These agents appear to be effective in the treatment of many anxiety states and may have greater efficacy than other agents in the treatment of certain affective disorders. As the central serotonergic system continues to be "mapped", newer and more selective drugs are likely to be introduced, thereby possibly improving the overall successful management of depression and anxiety disorders.