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10-Year Anniversary of the Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play

10-Year Anniversary of the Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play

The 2015 Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play served as a galvanizing force for the outdoor play sector in Canada and inspiration for stakeholders globally. It brought together previously disconnected groups from education, community, health, environment, wildlife, ecology, law, and Indigenous rights that collectively shared a passion for outdoor play. The Position Statement provided direction and a common purpose: to promote healthy growth and development among children in harmony with the outdoor, natural environment. It prompted The Lawson Foundation to reorient their strategic priorities towards outdoor play, resulting in a ~$11 million commitment (to date) to support Canadian communities in increasing children’s opportunities for outdoor play. The Position Statement also influenced a British Columbia Supreme Court ruling related to a playground injury lawsuit. Additionally, it spurred a 10-fold increase in academic publications on outdoor play in Canada and inspired the official launch of Outdoor Play Canada (OPC) and the Play, Learn, and Teach Outdoors Network (PLaTO-Net). These developments demonstrate the profound impact of the Position Statement in advancing the cause of outdoor play for Canadian children. 

In 2025, it will be 10 years since the release of the Position Statement. To mark this milestone, an initial group of researchers from the CHEO Research Institute, Outdoor Play Canada, International Play Association, Queen’s University, Auckland University of Technology, the Alana Institute, the National Taiwan University of Physical Education and Sport, University of Ghana and the Copenhagen University Hospital have come together to begin developing an update to the Position Statement, to describe its impact, make it global in reach and relevance, and draw on insights gained from the past decade, including the global COVID-19 pandemic.

We envision this update involving the development of knowledge products including academic and grey literature reviews exploring various topics related to outdoor play, such as trauma recovery, mental and spiritual health, self-care, sustainable eating, climate change and One Health, social determinants of health, overall health and well-being, and Indigenous reconciliation at a global level. In addition, the update will feature a chronology of, and reflection on, outdoor play events, initiatives, and successes achieved over the last 10 years. It will include an updated evidence-base and a consolidation of the original Position Statement with similar statements made by other groups, offering recommendations for pandemic preparedness in the future based on lessons learned from COVID-19, and the identification of ongoing research gaps. To ensure that our products are shared widely, we will provide digital summaries, slide decks for broad use, infographics, interviews, and curated social media content. We aim to apply an international perspective to our efforts and make sure all outputs are available in multiple languages.  

This project aims to rejuvenate, amplify, power, guide, and direct the movement to get global citizens outside – to play, learn, teach, grow, and develop as healthy, caring and environmentally attentive citizens who act as responsible stewards of each other, the land, water, air, plants, and animals. 

We are looking for insightful and energetic individuals who share our passion for outdoor play to join us in this endeavour. To express your interest in participating in this multi-year, multi-faceted, global project, kindly provide a brief overview (500 words max) outlining your interest and background, to: