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The importance of outdoor play for young children's healthy development

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Abstract

Changes in current societies are affecting childhood experiences. Time for outdoor play is diminishing, contributing to more sedentary lifestyles, disconnected from the natural world. Recognizing the importance of outdoor play for young children's healthy growth, a project focused on the exploration of the outdoor environment was developed with a group of young children in an early childhood education setting in Portugal. The project aimed to transform educational practices, moving from frequent indoor activities to a regular use of the outdoor environment. In this paper, we present the main dimensions related to outdoor play that emerged during the project (contact with natural elements, importance of risk, socialization opportunities) and highlight the role of professionals and families in creating quality outdoor play opportunities.
Please
cite
this
article
in
press
as:
Bento
G,
Dias
G.
The
importance
of
outdoor
play
for
young
children’s
healthy
development.
Porto
Biomed.
J.
2017.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pbj.2017.03.003
ARTICLE IN PRESS
G Model
PBJ-70;
No.
of
Pages
4
Porto
Biomed.
J.
2017;xxx(xx):xxx–xxx
Porto
Biomedical
Journal
ht
tp
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Rostrum
The
importance
of
outdoor
play
for
young
children’s
healthy
development
Gabriela
Bentoa,,
Gisela
Diasb
aUniversity
of
Aveiro,
Department
of
Education
and
Psychology,
Campus
Universitário
de
Santiagov,
Aveiro,
Portugal
bCreche
Jardim
de
Infância
ANIP,
Coimbra,
Portugal
a
r
t
i
c
l
e
i
n
f
o
Article
history:
Received
5
December
2016
Accepted
4
March
2017
Available
online
xxx
Keywords:
Outdoor
play
Children
Education
Health
Development
a
b
s
t
r
a
c
t
Changes
in
current
societies
are
affecting
childhood
experiences.
Time
for
outdoor
play
is
diminishing,
contributing
to
more
sedentary
lifestyles,
disconnected
from
the
natural
world.
Recognizing
the
impor-
tance
of
outdoor
play
for
young
children’s
healthy
growth,
a
project
focused
on
the
exploration
of
the
outdoor
environment
was
developed
with
a
group
of
young
children
in
an
early
childhood
education
setting
in
Portugal.
The
project
aimed
to
transform
educational
practices,
moving
from
frequent
indoor
activities
to
a
regular
use
of
the
outdoor
environment.
In
this
paper,
we
present
the
main
dimensions
related
to
outdoor
play
that
emerged
during
the
project
(contact
with
natural
elements,
importance
of
risk,
socialization
opportunities)
and
highlight
the
role
of
professionals
and
families
in
creating
quality
outdoor
play
opportunities.
©
2017
Published
by
Elsevier
Espa˜
na,
S.L.U.
on
behalf
of
PBJ-Associac¸ ˜
ao
Porto
Biomedical/Porto
Biomedical
Society.
This
is
an
open
access
article
under
the
CC
BY-NC-ND
license
(http://
creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Introduction
The
importance
of
play
for
children’s
healthy
development
is
grounded
in
a
strong
body
of
research.1–3 As
a
natural
and
compelling
activity,
play
promotes
cognitive,
physical,
social,
and
emotional
well-being,
offering
the
necessary
conditions
for
chil-
dren
to
thrive
and
learn.
Through
play,
the
child
can
experiment,
solve
problems,
think
creatively,
cooperate
with
others,
etc.,
gain-
ing
a
deeper
knowledge
about
his/herself
and
the
world.
From
an
early
age,
the
possibility
to
experience
several
opportunities
for
unstructured
play,
in
which
the
child
can
decide
what
to
do,
with
whom
and
how,
promotes
positive
self-esteem,
autonomy,
and
confidence.
Acknowledging
the
influence
of
time
and
space
in
play
expe-
riences,
in
this
article
we
address
the
special
contribution
of
the
outdoor
environment
to
fulfil
children’s
needs
for
free
play,
report-
ing
into
an
outdoor
educational
project
developed
with
a
group
of
14
children,
between
15
and
36
months
old,
in
a
Portuguese
early
childhood
setting.
The
work
presented
aims
to
identify
important
dimensions
of
outdoor
play
that
contribute
to
effective
learning
and
healthy
development,
and
highlight
the
role
of
professionals
Corresponding
author.
E-mail
address:
gportugalbento@ua.pt
(G.
Bento).
and
families
in
the
provision
of
such
experiences
in
early
childhood
education
settings.
Outdoor
play
in
current
society
and
education
settings
The
specific
features
and
stimulus
of
the
outdoor
environment
provide
for
different
play
opportunities
that
can
hardly
be
repli-
cated
inside.4The
outdoors
can
be
described
as
an
open
and
constantly
changing
environment,
where
it
is
possible
to
experi-
ence
freedom,
gross
and
boisterous
movements,
and
contact
with
natural
elements.5While
playing
outside,
children
benefit
from
being
exposed
to
sunlight,
natural
elements,
and
open
air,
which
contributes
to
bones
development,
stronger
immune
system
and
physical
activity.6,7 The
need
to
be
physically
active
from
an
early
age
is
particularly
relevant
if
we
consider
the
concerning
growth
of
children’s
obesity
and
overweight.
According
to
the
World
Health
Organization,8,9 Portugal
is
the
second
European
country
with
the
highest
values
of
overweight
among
children
with
11
years
old
(32%),
being
preceded
by
Greece
(33%)
and
proceeded
by
Ireland
(30%).
Also,
play
in
green
outdoor
environments
promotes
higher
levels
of
attention
and
well-being.10–12
However,
the
growing
evidences
about
the
importance
of
outdoor
play
does
not
seem
to
have
an
impact
in
the
type
of
expe-
riences
that
children
have
access
to.
Contrary
to
what
would
be
expected,
opportunities
for
outdoor
play
are
diminishing,
in
conse-
quence
of
globalization,
technology
expansion
and
urban
growth.13
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pbj.2017.03.003
2444-8664/©
2017
Published
by
Elsevier
Espa˜
na,
S.L.U.
on
behalf
of
PBJ-Associac¸ ˜
ao
Porto
Biomedical/Porto
Biomedical
Society.
This
is
an
open
access
article
under
the
CC
BY-NC-ND
license
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Please
cite
this
article
in
press
as:
Bento
G,
Dias
G.
The
importance
of
outdoor
play
for
young
children’s
healthy
development.
Porto
Biomed.
J.
2017.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pbj.2017.03.003
ARTICLE IN PRESS
G Model
PBJ-70;
No.
of
Pages
4
2
G.
Bento,
G.
Dias
/
Porto
Biomed.
J.
2017;xxx(xx):xxx–xxx
A
growing
culture
of
fear
about
the
possible
accidents
that
might
happen
affect
parent’s
and
professionals
attitude
towards
outdoor
play,
so
children
tend
to
be
kept
inside,
occupied
with
struc-
tured
activities,
and
controlled
by
adults.3,14,15 Possible
hazards,
interactions
with
strangers
and
car
traffic
are
the
most
frequent
factors
mentioned
by
parents
for
not
letting
their
children
play
outside,
even
though
they
acknowledge
the
importance
of
such
experiences.13,16 According
to
Gill,14 these
fears
are
often
brought
by
misinterpretations
of
reality,
without
having
a
real
expression
in
society.
For
example,
the
fear
about
child’s
abduction
is
not
linked
to
an
increase
in
these
type
of
crimes,
although
a
greater
emphasis
is
given
to
these
situations
by
social
media.
Adding
to
this,
there
is
a
concern
to
occupy
children
during
the
day,
considering
that
most
parents
work
long
hours
and
want
to
guarantee
the
best
opportunities
for
children
to
acquire
dif-
ferent
skills
and
knowledge.
Academic
activities
and
sports
often
occupy
children’s
time
to
play
freely.
Going
from
one
activity
to
another,
children
tend
to
be
transported
by
car,
without
experi-
encing
the
outdoor
environment
through
the
interaction
with
the
community.17,18
In
this
scenario,
there
is
a
need
to
raise
general
awareness
regarding
children’s
right
to
play
outdoors,
as
well
as
its
poten-
tial
in
supporting
children’s
well-being,
learning
and
development.
Acknowledging
the
time
children
spend
in
educational
settings,
concerns
about
the
time
and
space
to
play
outside
should
be
inte-
grated
in
education
planning
and
intervention,
starting
in
day-care
and
kindergarten.
In
Portugal,
research
shows
that
early
childhood
education
is
too
centred
in
what
happens
inside
the
activity
room,
wrongly
considering
that
the
outdoor
environment
serves
merely
as
recess
time,
during
which
children
can
stretch
their
legs
and
expend
their
energy.19–23 A
recent
study
focused
on
the
use
of
outdoor
spaces
in
four
Portuguese
kindergartens
showed
that
the
number
of
times
children
go
outside
is
very
reduced,
especially
in
the
winter
months.
Children
tend
to
spend
long
periods
in
closed
environments,
more
exposed
to
disease
contamination
and
sat-
urated
air.24 Also,
the
time
spent
outside
was
often
insufficient,
varying
between
16
and
30
min.
This
is
a
very
short
period
for
chil-
dren
to
take
advantage
of
the
benefits
related
to
outdoor
play,
being
recommended
a
minimum
of
40
min,
per
day.7
The
outdoor
education
project
With
the
desire
of
offering
a
different
educational
response
to
young
children
and
acknowledging
the
importance
of
the
outdoors
for
learning
and
development,
a
Portuguese
early
childhood
a
Por-
tuguese
early
childhood
centre
took
the
initiative
of
implementing
an
innovative
outdoor
education
project,
going
against
the
ten-
dency
of
keeping
children
inside.
During
a
period
of
three
years,
the
setting
located
in
a
rural
area
in
the
centre
of
Portugal,
catering
for
children
from
4
months
to
10
years
of
age
(from
6
to
10
years
old
children
attend
an
after
school
service),
introduced
gradual
changes
in
pedagogical
practices,
in
order
to
create
quality
outdoor
play
opportunities
for
children.
Despite
having
a
large
and
well
equipped
outdoor
area,
with
natural
elements
and
different
type
of
structures
to
promote
play,
in
the
beginning
of
the
project
the
children
did
not
used
the
outdoors
regularly.
The
professionals
perceived
the
indoor
environment
has
being
more
secure
and
comfortable,
so
they
avoided
going
outside
for
long
periods.
They
were
also
afraid
about
possible
accidents
or
diseases
that
might
affected
children,
fearing
for
negative
reactions
from
the
families.
To
overcome
these
obstacles,
a
methodology
close
to
action-
research
was
adopted
to
facilitate
practices’
transformation,
which
included
teachers’
training
in
outdoor
play,
regular
team
meet-
ings
and
observations
of
children’s
play.
In
this
way,
problems
that
emerged
were
interpreted
as
mile
stones
in
the
process
of
improv-
ing
educational
practice
and
specific
strategies
were
experimented
to
achieve
a
solution.
This
outdoor
project
directly
involved
all
the
early
childhood
teachers
of
the
institution
(5
women)
and,
indirectly,
the
board
of
the
setting,
other
professionals,
families,
community
members
and,
of
course,
the
children.
In
this
paper,
the
experience
of
one
of
the
groups,
with
14
children
between
15
and
36
months
old
will
be
shared.
Through
qualitative
data
collection
techniques,
such
as
obser-
vations,
written
records,
videos
and
photographs
focused
on
children’s
outdoor
play,
three
dimensions
were
identified
as
key
to
promote
learning
and
development:
contact
with
natural
ele-
ments;
importance
of
risk;
socialization
opportunities.
The
analysis
of
each
dimension
will
take
in
consideration
current
international
literature.
Also,
these
three
components
of
outdoor
play
can
only
be
fully
developed
if
children
are
accompanied
by
attentive
and
responsive
adults,
concerned
with
their
needs
and
interests.25,26
The
role
of
professionals
and
families
in
this
project
is
also
presented,
considering
that
cooperation
between
adults
is
an
important
aspect
for
the
success
of
outdoor
play
experiences.
Promoting
learning
and
development
outside
Contact
with
natural
elements
The
outdoor
environment
offers
unique
stimulus
that
capture
children’s
attention
and
interest.
Sticks,
rocks,
flowers,
soil,
water,
etc.,
are
explored
with
curiosity
and
drive
to
learn,
as
they
offer
countless
possibilities
for
play.
As
White27 states,
natural
elements
are
open-ended
materials,
that
can
respond
to
children’s
imagina-
tion
and
needs.
In
this
process
of
reinvention
and
assigning
new
meaning
to
objects
(e.g.
a
stick
can
be
a
gun,
a
boat
or
a
pen),
it
is
possible
to
mobilize
skills
related
to
divergent
thinking,
creativ-
ity,
problem
solving,
among
others.
The
use
of
natural
elements
in
children’s
play
also
creates
a
more
sustainable
strategy
in
what
concerns
resources
provision.
Natural
elements
are
easy
to
find,
cheap
and
they
do
not
offer
the
limited
options
that
commercial
toys
do.28
The
exploration
of
natural
elements
is
also
important
to
cap-
ture
children’s
attention
to
the
richness
and
diversity
of
Nature.
The
sense
of
discovery
and
fascination
influences
meaningful
learn-
ing
and
allows
for
the
development
of
an
emotional
connection
towards
the
environment.
If
we
assume
that
attitudes
of
respect
and
care
are
more
likely
to
emerge
regarding
something
that
is
dear
to
us,
than
it
is
crucial
to
promote
a
sense
of
belonging
and
familiarity
towards
Nature
from
an
early
age
to
facilitate
ecological
and
sustainable
behaviours
along
life.
Through
outdoor
play
and
the
exploration
of
natural
elements,
it
is
possible
to
promote
education
in
its
broadest
sense.
Activi-
ties
related
to
playing
with
soil
and
water
can
serve
as
examples
of
learning
opportunities
in
which
concepts
related
to
mathemat-
ics,
science
or
language
were
promoted
in
an
integrated
way.
As
children
filled
and
emptied
containers,
several
times,
they
could
explore
notions
related
to
weight,
volume
and
time,
and
as
they
talked
about
what
they
were
experiencing,
new
vocabulary
was
being
acquired.
Similar
findings
were
found
in
other
researches,
showing,
for
example,
children’s
ability
to
learn
and
employ
math-
ematical
products
and
procedures
during
outdoor
play,
using
their
body
as
a
learning
tool.29,30
It
what
concerns
health,
the
interaction
with
natural
elements
such
as
the
soil
helps
build
immunity.
Growing
research
has
been
showing
the
importance
of
experiences
that
promote
the
con-
tact
with
“harmless
microbes”,
that
provide
protection
against
diseases.31 Among
the
group
we
worked
with,
some
children
had
respiratory
and
skin
problems
(e.g.
asthma
and
eczemas),
and
going
Please
cite
this
article
in
press
as:
Bento
G,
Dias
G.
The
importance
of
outdoor
play
for
young
children’s
healthy
development.
Porto
Biomed.
J.
2017.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pbj.2017.03.003
ARTICLE IN PRESS
G Model
PBJ-70;
No.
of
Pages
4
G.
Bento,
G.
Dias
/
Porto
Biomed.
J.
2017;xxx(xx):xxx–xxx
3
outside
often
helped
them
deal
with
periods
of
aggravated
symp-
toms.
Importance
of
risk
Today’s
society
often
neglects
the
importance
of
risk
for
chil-
dren’s
learning
and
development.
A
culture
of
fear
lead
us
to
underestimate
what
children
are
capable
to
do,
creating
an
even
more
“dangerous”
learning
environment,
where
children
do
not
have
the
possibility
to
learn,
by
experience,
how
to
stay
safe.14,32
It
is
essential
to
adopt
a
wider
vision
of
risk,
going
beyond
the
pos-
sibility
of
accidents
to
consider
the
positive
implications
related
to
the
feelings
of
success
and
happiness
when
a
challenge
or
a
new
skill
is
mastered.33,34
In
the
outdoor
environment,
opportunities
to
exceed
personal
limits
often
emerge
in
situations
like
climbing
up
a
tree
or
using
a
tool.
In
risky
play,
the
adult
should
interpret
the
signs
of
the
child,
giving
the
necessary
support
or
space
that
he
or
she
needs.
From
our
experience
and
following
other
studies
in
this
area,
it
is
possible
to
state
that
risky
play
promotes
important
skills
related
to
persis-
tence,
entrepreneurship,
self-knowledge
and
problem
solving.35,36
During
outdoor
play,
children
should
have
the
opportunity
to
experiment
moments
of
failure
and
success,
learning
by
trial
and
error.
If
we
try
to
prevent
all
risky
situations,
children
will
not
know
how
to
deal
with
unpredictable
environments
and
will
lack
the
necessary
confidence
to
overcome
challenges
in
an
autonomous
way.
During
the
project,
we
had
different
situations
in
which
risk
emerge,
for
example
when
wild
mushrooms
appeared
in
the
gar-
den,
after
a
period
of
rain,
and
children
were
interested
by
that
phenomena.
In
that
situation,
we
could
either
prohibit
the
explo-
ration
or
help
children
understand
what
was
happening
in
the
safest
way
possible.
Choosing
the
second
option,
we
told
the
chil-
dren
that
it
was
very
dangerous
to
eat
the
mushrooms
and
we
gave
them
some
tools
to
facilitate
observation
(e.g.
magnifying
glass
and
clamps).
We
always
remain
close
to
them,
helping,
and
answering
to
the
questions
that
emerged.
If
we
had
avoid
going
out
because
of
the
mushrooms
or
if
we
had
ignored
that
situation,
an
important
learning
opportunity
would
have
been
missed.
Socialization
opportunities
The
environment
created
outside
can
offer
interesting
condi-
tions
for
children
and
adults
to
show
different
aspects
of
their
personality,
which
normally
do
not
emerge
during
the
time
indoors.
Following
the
findings
of
Maynard,
Waters
and
Clement,37 we
have
realized
that
outdoor
play
allows
for
a
deeper
knowledge
about
children,
facilitating
a
more
adequate
educational
interven-
tion
from
the
adult.
Likewise,
less
conflicts
occur
during
outdoor
play
and
children
tend
to
cooperate
more
with
each
other.28,38
The
characteristics
of
the
space
(open
and
unpredictable)
enable
the
development
of
joint
goals
between
children,
leading
to
expe-
riences
of
companionship
among
peers.
During
outdoor
play,
children
become
teachers
and
learners,
sharing
their
knowledge
and
skills
to
accomplish
different
tasks
or
challenges.
In
this
pro-
cess
of
cooperation,
it
is
possible
to
develop
empathy,
as
children
begin
to
understand
other’s
people
feelings
and
needs.
The
crucial
difference
about
socialization
in
the
outdoor
environment
is
that
opportunities
for
interaction
happen
in
a
gradual
way,
giving
chil-
dren
the
possibility
to
choose
the
moments
to
connect
with
others
or
to
play
individually,
without
having
to
continually
run
into
each
other
as
it
so
often
happens
in
close
and
exiguous
rooms.
The
interaction
with
adults
also
seem
to
be
facilitated
in
the
outdoor
area.
In
different
moments
along
the
project,
adults
rec-
ognized
that
they
felt
more
available
to
support
children
outside,
where
they
felt
relaxed
and
calm.
This
statement
suggests
that
the
outdoor
environment
is
not
only
a
healthy
environment
for
chil-
dren,
but
also
for
adults,
where
the
levels
of
stress
and
anxiety
seem
to
diminish.
Other
studies
found
evidences
that
support
different
models
of
interaction
between
adult
and
child
during
outdoor
play,
being
more
child-led,
flexible
and
based
on
dialogue
about
chil-
dren’s
discoveries
and
interests.4,39,40
The
role
of
professionals
and
families
in
the
provision
of
outdoor
play
experiences
To
develop
quality
outdoor
practices,
that
can
have
a
positive
impact
in
children’s
health
and
development,
it
is
fundamental
to
promote
conditions
for
adults
to
feel
comfortable
and
motivated
during
the
time
spent
outside.
Adult’s
involvement
will
influence
the
type
of
experiences
that
children
have
access
to
and
how
they
incorporate
new
knowledge.
From
the
experience
acquired
during
the
project
it
is
possible
to
state
that
teamwork
is
a
crucial
compo-
nent
for
quality
planning
and
intervention,
facilitating
the
need
for
constant
evaluation
and
reflection
upon
children’s
well-being
and
involvement.
Besides
from
collaboration
among
professionals,
families
should
participate
as
much
as
possible
in
outdoor
play.
If
professionals
explain
to
the
parents
why
it
is
important
to
play
outside
and
make
an
effective
effort
to
get
them
involved
and
satisfied,
possible
neg-
ative
reactions
related
to
fears
about
children
getting
sick,
dirty
or
injured
will
be
progressively
solved.
It
is
important
to
never
forget
that
most
families
just
want
the
best
for
their
children
and
it
is
the
job
of
professionals
to
help
them
achieve
this
goal.
Desirably,
the
valorization
of
outdoor
time
from
parents
will
also
promote
the
integration
of
these
type
of
experiences
in
family
routines,
creat-
ing
conditions
for
stronger
and
more
positive
effects
in
children’s
development.
To
overcome
parents’
anxieties
and
to
promote
quality
outdoor
play
experiences,
it
was
very
important
to
assure
that
all
children
had
proper
equipment
to
play
outside
in
different
weather
condi-
tions
(e.g.
waterproof
suits
and
rubber
boots
for
winter).
Having
the
adequate
clothes
is
an
essential
dimension
to
assure
children’s
safety
and
health.
Also,
we
encouraged
the
parents
to
talk
to
the
children’s
paediatrician
about
outdoor
play,
especially
regarding
children’s
respiratory
and
skin
problems.
This
effort
of
articulation
between
health
and
education
professionals
was
very
important
to
earn
parents’
confidence
in
this
learning
approach.
Finally,
the
cooperation
between
family
and
school
allowed
for
a
progressive
improvement
of
structures
and
play
resources
avail-
able
outside.
Often,
parents
offered
their
skills
and
time
to
the
setting,
working
afterhours
to
build
or
recover
play
structures
(e.g.
trees
houses,
benches
and
tables
for
children)
or
collecting
daily
objects
for
children
to
play
with
(e.g.
kitchen
supplies
to
play
with
soil
and
water).
During
the
development
of
the
project
we
always
good
lines
of
communication
with
families,
trying
to
find
solutions
and
strate-
gies
that
satisfied
everybody’s
needs.
Final
thoughts
The
need
to
guarantee
that
children
have
the
possibility
to
play
outside,
facing
adventures
and
challenges,
without
being
con-
stantly
engaged
in
activities
controlled
by
adults
is
a
recent
concern
for
most
western
societies.
We
have
evolved
to
a
more
modern,
technological,
and
globalized
world
but,
in
the
process,
we
lost
habits
and
experiences
that
influence
our
quality
of
life.
One
of
the
major
challenges
of
present
and
future
generations
may
be
the
need
to
find
a
balance
between
an
increasingly
“busy”
society
and
the
preservation
of
experiences
of
well-being
and
connection
to
the
world.
The
educational
settings
have
an
important
role
in
this
pro-
cess,
guarantying
that
during
the
first
years
of
life
children
have
the
means
and
opportunities
to
develop
a
positive
self-esteem,
curiosity
and
motivation
about
learning
and
good
socialization
Please
cite
this
article
in
press
as:
Bento
G,
Dias
G.
The
importance
of
outdoor
play
for
young
children’s
healthy
development.
Porto
Biomed.
J.
2017.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pbj.2017.03.003
ARTICLE IN PRESS
G Model
PBJ-70;
No.
of
Pages
4
4
G.
Bento,
G.
Dias
/
Porto
Biomed.
J.
2017;xxx(xx):xxx–xxx
skills.
The
quality
experienced
in
education
services
may
help
the
child
to
overcome
vulnerabilities
related
to
other
contexts
(e.g.
poverty,
low
levels
of
parents’
education).
Opportunities
to
contact
with
Nature,
deal
with
risks,
and
socialize
with
peers
and
adults
in
a
responsive
and
caring
environment
will
contribute
to
qual-
ity
educational
experiences,
influencing
children’s
motivation
and
enthusiasm
about
learning
and
school.
The
valorization
of
early
years
and
outdoor
play
can
be
under-
stood
as
a
mean
to
promote
healthier
lifestyles,
acknowledging
that
today’s
children
will
be
the
adults
of
tomorrow.
Parents,
educa-
tors,
and
policy
makers
should
work
to
promote
better
childhood
experiences,
guarantying
that
children’s
interests
are
considered
in
urban
and
school
planning.
Without
ignoring
the
slow
rhythm
of
practices
transformation,
it
is
important
to
instigate
educational
settings
to
promote
outdoor
play,
considering
the
amount
of
time
that
children
spent
in
school
and
the
impact
of
those
experiences
for
learning
and
development.
With
these
ideas
in
mind,
this
testimony
aims
to
highlight
the
importance
of
outdoor
play
in
natural
environments
for
children’s
learning
and
development
and
to
inspire
and
challenge
others
to
take
advantage
of
the
opportunities
that
the
outdoor
environment
can
offer.
Conflicts
of
interest
The
authors
declare
no
conflicts
of
interest.
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... According to Maynard et al. (2013), outdoor play allows more profound knowledge about children, facilitating an adult's adequate educational intervention. Space's characteristics (open and unpredictable) enable the development of shared goals between children, leading to companionship experiences among peers (Bento & Dias, 2017). During outdoor play, children become teachers and learners, sharing their knowledge and skills to accomplish different tasks or challenges. ...
... In early childhood settings, outdoor play environments are a fundamental and necessary component in supporting children's physical, cognitive, emotional, and social health (Loebach & Cox, 2020). When children connect with nature, it is found that the natural playgrounds promote more challenging play (Bento & Dias, 2017). According to Zamani (2016), children expressed their skill and creativity through cognitive play offered in the natural setting. ...
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Outdoor play encompasses a spectrum of activities that take place in the natural environment within an area. However, technology advancement has led to an overwhelming prominence of more sedentary indoor activities, such as television, video, and computer games allowing children to spend more time on digital technology daily. As a result, there has been a reduction of outdoor access for many children, and this has caused social well-being and physical health problems in recent years. The purpose of this scoping review was to determine what is currently known about how outdoor play impact children's well-being. This scoping review was reported according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) guidelines. A total of 10 studies were eligible for selection. The results showed that outdoor play influenced children's play behaviour and environment engagement played an important role in getting children to be highly active during outdoor play. 2421-826X
... Outdoor play refers to unorganized outdoor physical activities (PAs) [8]. Regular and appropriate outdoor play is a major source of PA among preschool children [9] and an important health factor for improving their physical, mental, and social development [10][11][12]. However, the current generation of children spends more time on screen-based devices and playing games at home [13] than participating in outdoor play. ...
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Preprint
The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have had a serious adverse impact on the healthy behaviors of preschoolers, in particular outdoor play. However, details of its impact are still unclear. Thus, in this study, we investigate changes in lifestyle behavior and physical fitness of Japanese preschoolers during the pandemic. We collected longitudinal data before and during the pandemic and objectively assessed changes in the physical fitness and lifestyle (outdoor playtime, screen time, and sleep) of Japanese preschoolers. Participants were 4,882 preschoolers in Hiroshima who underwent objective health and fitness assessments (25-m sprint, standing long jump, tennis ball throw); their parents answered questions on their demographics, physical activity, screen time, and sleep duration. Chi-squared test, ANOVA, and t-test were applied. The results showed a significant increase in screen time during the pandemic (p < 0.05), reduction in outdoor playtime in all preschool children (p < 0.001), and deterioration in all three fitness outcomes (running, jumping, and throwing) in all preschool children (p < 0.001). The results showed negative effects of the pandemic on children’s health and lifestyle behaviors and fitness, suggesting the need for various interventions to promote physical activity under pandemic conditions.
... Fine motor movements with the activation of small group muscles enable to perform functions such as holding and shaping small objects and require a great deal of hand-eye coordination (Luo and Jose, 2007). There are numerous stimuli in the ecological environment such as tree branches, flowers, sawdust, soil, sand and water (Bento and Dias, 2017). The use of functions such as holding small objects, shaping or forming a whole in the child's contact with these stimuli contributes to fine motor development. ...
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Children actively learn themselves, their immediate environment and the world through play. It is observed that the environment plays a major role in increasing the physical activity levels of children and ensuring their functional development. Being intertwined with nature is very important for children in environmental education. However, the importance of physical planning of ecological playgrounds for children is often overlooked. It is known that natural spaces designed within the framework of ecological principles and containing different habitat types (water, soil, plants, animals, etc.) are more suitable for environmental education than classical green spaces, especially for children living in cities. It is known that a flexible and changeable environment provides more opportunities for positive behavior in environmental education. In addition to the positive aspects that the natural elements in the environment contribute to the psychological, emotional and social integration of the child, there are also contributions in terms of motor and sensory development. In addition, the areas designed in this direction reveal the feeling of freedom of children and are effective in making them more sensitive to environmental issues.
... This statement encou-rages thinking of open air exercise as a method to increase children's opportunities. Open air exer-cises are an important part of children's lives as they play an important role in "promoting children's well-being and progress" (Manurung et al., 2021) on the grounds that they offer a wide range of opportunities (Azlina, W., & S ., 2012) For example, giving young people an open door to outside practice empowers them to enhance their actual development and skills (McFarland, L., & Laird, 2018) as well as support mental, physical, social, and spirit progress (Azlina, W. ., & S., 2012;Maynard, Trisha, Waters, 2014).When this part of the progress joins, children's consent and investigative abilities are upheld as well (Bento & Dias, 2017). Outsiders can provide compre-hensive progress that opens doors for children through active encounters and becoming dynamic players. ...
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The researcher focused on the teacher's strategy to improve children's cognition through outdoor activities for early childhood, where the researchers aimed to find out how teachers learn about learning or outdoor activities, activities and preparation as well as the safety needed when doing outdoor activities for early childhood. The research method that the researcher uses is descriptive qualitative research. The data obtained from observations and interviews show similarities, namely outdoor activities stimulate children to develop more easily, children will be easier to understand and there is a real picture of what is explained. Outside they can feel the air, feel the opportunities of open space, and improve the ability to use muscles in new ways.
... Wśród charakterystycznych elementów krajobrazu, które są wykorzystywane przez dzieci do zabawy, można wymienić pagórki, doły, konary drzew, ale także przewrócone pnie wraz z korzeniami, głazy, leśne ścieżki i szatę roślinną. Badacze wskazują, że dzieci, które bawią się w zróżnicowanym środowisku leśnym, wykonują szereg ćwiczeń i podejmują się aktywności ryzykownych, co przekłada się na wzrost umiejętności zachowania równowagi i poprawę koordynacji (Fjørtoft 2001: 111-117;Bento, Dias 2017). Poprawa sprawności fizycznej jest czynnikiem skłaniającym do podejmowania kolejnych aktywności (w tym aktywności ryzykownych). ...
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The subject of the qualitative research presented in this paper is risky play. Using the conclusions of the participant observation carried out in two forest kindergartens in Berlin, interviews with teachers and the analysis of documents, I try to answer the question of what factors are conducive to taking up risky play by children. I present the types of risky play that occur in forest kindergarten and a description of the material and social space that characterizes the institutions. The key issue in recognition is the teachers’ attitude to risky play. Children learn to manage risk, make decisions, solve problems, assess their own physical fitness, but taking such actions requires appropriate suport from adults.
... Malnourishment, having dark skin, and having HIV infection are established risk factors for inadequate serum vitamin D levels [15,16,41,42]. We also found that children �15 years old were less likely to have inadequate vitamin D levels, consistent with evidence that younger children receive more vitamin D through sun exposure/outdoor activities compared to adolescents [43] and that there is a significant trend in the increase of screen time (either TV, computer or smartphones) among Kenyan adolescents and young Table 3 adults [44]. Given the age effects on vitamin D level, we adjusted for age and found that the association with early-ART was retained, suggesting that younger age and early-ART are independent factors protective of vitamin D levels. ...
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Objectives The impact of antiretroviral treatment (ART) on the occurrence of oral diseases among children and adolescents living with HIV (CALHIV) is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of ART timing on vitamin D levels and the prevalence of four oral diseases (dry mouth, dental caries, enamel hypoplasia, and non-herpes oral ulcer) among Kenyan CALHIV from two pediatric HIV cohorts.Methods This nested cross-sectional study was conducted at the Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya. CALHIV, 51 with early-ART initiated at
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This study aims to understand the experiences of preschool teachers’ outdoor education experiences in their curriculum after taking the Outdoor Education in Early Childhood Course. In this qualitative study, grounded theory was applied to analyzing data that were collected through an open-ended form and individual and focus group interviews. Results consisted of a main category, namely change in the quantity and content of outdoor education. According to the results, the teachers’ experiences changed to increase and enrich OE. The study revealed that improving the quantity and content of outdoor education by teachers leads to improvement in three interrelated categories: change in pedagogical approach, personal development, and children’s development. These categories are development in coping with obstacles, risky play approach, communication style with children, child-centered practices, self-efficacy, emotional self-regulation, motivation to teach, problem-solving skills, and holistic development of children. Furthermore, all these developments function as mutually reinforcing factors.
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The article presents the importance of games and play activities for children in the first years of primary school during and after distance learning caused by COVID-19. The shift of education to online reality has been a challenging experience. Teachers had to find new ways to work with children, whereas kids had to cope with the new school reality. The aim of the article is to present the ways in which play-based activities were used by primary school teachers during remote education, based on an exploratory and descriptive study. The main research question was whether and how games and play-based activities were used during remote education in the first three grades of primary school in the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors conducted semi-structured interviews with primary school teachers and parents of students from grades 1–3. The main conclusion is that play, perceived as an important factor in early childhood education, was used by teachers in remote education to introduce a new topic, expand the scope of the material, involve children in the learning process, assess what they had learned and help to relax during classes, even if there were limitations arising from remote education and the specific needs of the youngest learners. Keywords: game-based learning, remote education, early childhood education, teachers, parents
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The aim of the study is to examine educators’ reflections on their practices and views regarding outdoor play and learning (OPL) and unveil the impact and sustainability of participating in participatory action research (PAR). The study draws back on the findings of a PAR conducted three years ago in two different school units that aimed to support children’s OPL. In the current research, we return to the research field, and with the participating educators we attempt to shed light on their experiences after the formal research came to an end. The research has a socio-cultural perspective on outdoor play and learning with references to participative and active relationships between cultural, social, spatial, and psychological factors. Participating in research where all participants were agents of the change (PAR) enabled the educators to enrich their pedagogical agendas and respect children’s need to play outdoors; it further helped them feel confident and develop competencies in designing outdoor activities. However, the findings unveil the challenges that educators face in creating sustainable outdoor landscapes due to the lack of sufficient supervision and governmental support. The study adds new data regarding the release of sustainable long-term changes both in outdoor pedagogies and settings.