Browse all content related to outdoor play and Policy.

On Friday, April 16th at 12pm EST, Outdoor Play Canada will be hosting their next townhall. At this meeting, we will discuss the equity, diversity, and inclusion process among outdoor-oriented organizations. We aim to have an open conversation about this process. We aim to listen and learn, share interesting thoughts and ideas, and gather informational......

On March 30th, 2021 at 12pm CST, Sask in Motion will be hosting their final Leaders’ Series webinar. The panel talk will focus on the City of Calgary’s experience creating a play charter and adventure playground, featuring OPC Leadership Group member Heather Cowie, in addition to Adam Bienenstock (Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds), Stephanie Won (City of......

Thank you to Eun-Young Lee, PhD, School of Kinesiology & Health Studies at Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada, Stephen Hunter, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, and Mark S. Tremblay, PhD, Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada,......

‘The role of PLAY in the self-reported healthy movement, school experiences and well-being of Canadian children and youth’, is an analysis from Maximum City‘s COVID-19 Child and Youth Study, an ongoing survey of 2,100 pairs of children/youth and parent/caregivers on children and youth’s behaviours, school experiences, and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this analysis,......

Construction of a new, multi-purpose iconic building on National Capital Commission (NCC) property is about to begin. Fences are being put up, a biologist will be onsite Monday, and the removal of trees (as few as possible) will start Tuesday. Trees destined to be cut will be turned into lumber for future use inside the......

On Friday, March 12, 2021, Minister McKenna and Parliamentary Secretary Fillmore announced they are moving forward with the National Active Transportation Strategy and the creation of a $400M Active Transportation Infrastructure Fund. Vélo Canada Bikes has been actively involved in calling for this Active Transportation Strategy and working with the government and stakeholders in moving......

In their newest article for The Conversation, Dr. John J Reilly, Professor of Physical Activity and Public Health Science, University of Strathclyde, and Dr. Mark Tremblay, Professor of Pediatrics in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, discuss how children’s outdoor play was in decline before the pandemic and now is in danger of becoming......

The Government of Canada launched the Healthy Communities Initiative, a $31 million investment, to support local government, charities, Indigenous communities, and non-profit organizations in transforming public spaces into safe, accessible, and vibrant community hubs. This initiative aims to promote a sense of community as places of belonging, social cohesion, and collective identity, and aims to......

Thank you to Natasha Parent (PhD Student, University of British Columbia) for providing this post. Outdoor play – such as climbing, jumping, running or collecting things in nature – plays a critical role in children’s healthy development. However, over the past few decades, there has been a substantial decline in the amount of time Western......

ReImagine RREC (Renew, Retool, Engage, Contribute) is a national COVID-19 recovery initiative led by the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA) and its partners and is supported by Sport Canada and the Government of Canada. ReImagine RREC aims to support administrators, policymakers, practitioners, and volunteers working in recreation, parks, and community sport to return to......

Thank you to Dr. Mark Tremblay, chair of Outdoor Play Canada, for providing this post. Active outdoor play for children and families is an ideal antidote for COVID-19 transmission and coping mechanism for related restrictions – provided that public health guidance is followed. Outdoor play can help to cope with, contain, and combat COVID-19 –......

Thank you to Professor Helen Dodd (University of Reading) for providing this post. When children play in an adventurous way, climbing trees, riding their bikes fast downhill, jumping from rocks, they experience feelings of fear and excitement, thrill and adrenaline. In our recently published conceptual paper, Dr Kathryn Lester and I argue that these experiences,......

The Healthy Kids Community Challenge was a program funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care from 2015-2018 in Ontario that supported 45 communities in Ontario in improving children’s health through the promotion of healthy behaviours (improving physical activity and healthy eating, reducing screen time). Themes that were part of this program included ‘Run.......

The Canadian Parks and Recreation Association is proud to partner with 8 80 Cities and World Urban Parks to promote a series of webinars examining the role of public space development and city programming, design, and management in promoting winter accessibility of parks, public spaces and open spaces.  In these webinars, the CPRA will hear......

Outdoor Play Canada is hosting it’s first Townhall Meeting on Friday, January 15th at 12pm EST. Join us to hear an overview of our goals and strategic priorities from OPC Chair Dr. Mark Tremblay, learn about other sector activities, and share your updates at the roundtable discussion. Registration Link  ...

The Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Annual Conference, hosted by the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, aims to exchange ideas and engage in activities focused on sustainable city-landscape interactions. Topics covered in the virtual 2020 conference included: children, youth, and the environment, Indigenous knowledge and wisdom, sustainable urban design, urban-rural linkages, and vulnerable resilient and climate......

The Government of Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Parks Council and Mount Royal University’s Institute for Environmental Sustainability, recently announced the launch of the Pan-Canadian Parks and Protected Areas Research Network. The Network is made up of scientists, researchers, Indigenous knowledge holders, students, and parks and protected areas specialists and managers, who collectively will......

As part of the process of reviewing the Child Care and Early Years Act, the Ministry of Education in Ontario put out a call for submissions to discuss several components of the Act, including the potential to license Forest and Outdoor Programs. In response, Andrew Fleck Children’s Services (AFCS), together with Child Nature Alliance of......

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, public health authorities across the country have recommended that Canadians keep their distance, wash their hands, and stay home. To enforce these measures early in the pandemic, restrictions on outdoor behaviour were implemented, limiting access to parks, playgrounds, conservation areas and recreational outdoor spaces. Counterbalancing efforts to create more......

The Children and Nature Network hosts the annual Inside-Out International Conference and Leadership Summit; the largest gathering of nature connection advocates in the world. Conference themes focus on ensuring that children have access to the many benefits of nature and inspire new generations of environmental stewards. In 2020, their conference was held online and focused......

On September 30th, 2020, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Hon Steven Guilbeault hosted a Sport Community Town Hall to discuss how the federal government will assist in the sport community’s recovery from the impact of COVID-19. Ahead of the Town Hall, members of the community were invited to submit proposals on how Canada may address the......

In their latest article for The Conversation, Dr. John J Reilly, Professor of Physical Activity and Public Health Science, University of Strathclyde, and Dr. Mark Tremblay, Professor of Pediatrics in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, discuss the negative effects COVID-19 related restrictions have had on children’s cardiorespiratory fitness. Cardiorespiratory fitness, the authors explain,......

The Child in the City Biannual World Conference aims to share knowledge, good practice and research findings from the various disciplines that are important to the shared aim of creating child-friendly cities. Central themes of this conference include connecting green and play, children’s mobility and sustainable futures, urban parenting to urban planning, and immigrant families......

Thank you to Murry Burgess (North Carolina State University), Rachel Szczytko (Pisces Foundation), and Kathryn Stevenson (North Carolina State University), for providing this post. Do children in your life spend time outside? What do they do? Maybe they go on family hunting trips, play organized sports, or spend time alone in the backyard. New research......

Outdoor Play Canada, before its formal organization, was responsible for the development and release of the Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play in 2015. This Statement had a significant impact on uniting the Outdoor Play sector, providing direction and a common purpose – promoting children’s healthy growth and development through outdoor play. To build on and......

On August 26, 2020, Tim Gill, an independent researcher and International Play Association member, and Robyn Monro Miller, President of the International Play Association, released their study report: ‘Play in Lockdown: An international study of government and civil society responses to Covid-19 and their impact on children’s play and mobility’. The study collected data from......

This blog provides a brief overview of an article published in Health Reports on July 15, 2020: “Exercise and screen time during the COVID-19 pandemic” by Rachel C Colley, Tracey Bushnik and Kellie Langlois. Thank you to Dr. Colley for providing this post. Background Life changed dramatically in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.......

OTTAWA, 29 July 2020—The Healthy Transportation Coalition is asking that any federal stimulus money be invested in healthy transportation projects and affordable housing, and not in road projects to increase car capacity. In a letter to Ottawa City Council, the Ottawa Board of Health, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches, and Minister of Infrastructure and Communities......

Thank you to Yingyi Lin, PhD student in the Population, Health and Place program at the University of Southern California, and Mariana Brussoni, Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia, for providing this post. Walking to school and playing in the streets without adult supervision were previously commonplace, but are no longer the norm......

Thank you to Louise Zimanyi and Olga Rossovska, Professors of Early Childhood Education at  Humber College, for providing this post. Two 150-year old crack willow trees surrounded by 250 acres of Carolinian forest, one of Canada’s most biologically diverse ecosystems, are the heart of The Willows forest nature program for children at the Child Development......

In an article for the Ryerson City Building Institute, Ryerson Associate Professor, urban planner, and Outdoor Play Canada Leadership Team Member, Dr. Raktim Mitra describes the findings of his latest research on the importance of access to safe and welcoming outdoor space and maintaining healthy movement behaviours among Canadian kids during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using......

Press Release: Summer homework – get kids outside and recalibrate healthy lifestyles A national survey commissioned by ParticipACTION shows evidence of collateral damage to the lifestyles of Canadian children and youth consequent to public health restrictions imposed to help contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Restricted access to playgrounds, schools, childcare, playdates, and instructions to “stay home”......

In a note at the request of the Play Safety Forum (including Play England, Play Scotland, Play Wales and PlayBoard Northern Ireland), Professor David Ball, Tim Gill and Andy Yates summarized evidence on the effect of restricting children’s play as it relates to 1) reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and conversely, 2) negatively impacting......

In her recent article for The Guardian, Laura Laker discusses the innovative ways several cities around the world have changed to keep kids healthy, sociable and outdoors. Ms. Laker highlights concerns over city planning that prioritizes cars and the economy over the environment and quality of life, and contrasts those concerns with examples of how......

In a recent piece published in The Conversation, Dr. Lauren McNamara, Research Scientist with the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University, and Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, Professor of Education Policy at the University of New South Wales discuss the importance of preserving recess when schools reopen after the COVID-19 shut downs. Their piece in The Conversation follows......

This piece was a collaborative effort by UK professors from Sussex, Cambridge and Reading Universities, intended for general distribution.  As experts in children’s mental health and development, we urge that children’s social and emotional wellbeing be prioritised in all decisions relating to the easing of lockdown and re-opening of schools. We recognise the vital importance......

In a recent piece published in The Conversation, Christine Alden, doctoral candidate at The University of Toronto, and Program Director for early child development and Outdoor Play Strategy with The Lawson Foundation, outlines the impact of COVID-19 related restrictions on children’s access to outdoor play. She highlights that access to outdoor play is varied, especially......

In Andre Picard’s latest opinion piece in the Globe and Mail, the health columnist suggests a new mantra be adopted as reopening measures are put in place across Canada: ‘Go outside, but do not congregate’. He suggests that part of easing restrictions on outdoor activity should include creating more space, i.e. closing streets to allow......

In her daily news briefing on April 29, 2020, Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s provincial health officer, re-iterated what she has been saying throughout the COVID-19 outbreak: enjoy BC’s outdoor spaces, safely, and with immediate family members. Dr. Henry highlighted the observation that transmission of the virus by briefly passing by someone who sneezes or......

Many have struggled to access the outdoors, parks, and nature as a result of physical distancing regulations instituted across the country in reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak. Though most Provincial and National parks have reopened, services are limited. At the municipal level, restrictions are being lifted on parks but certain elements, such as play structures......

Thank you to Alexander Wray, H.BES, MA-Candidate (Western University, Canada) for providing this post and photo.   Canadian children and youth over the past decade have reported lower levels of physical activity than previous generations and are reporting a worrying decline in their overall mental wellbeing. These populations report spending less time outside than ever......

March 16, 2020 10am Eastern/7am Pacific   On Saturday, March 14th, BC’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry spoke to the public on ways to stay healthy while engaging in safe social distancing practices. In her announcement, she highlighted the observation that viruses do not transmit as readily outdoors. So, she suggests, ‘go outside and......

On November 20th of last year, Outdoor Play Canada published an article titled, “If In Doubt, Let Them Out – A Child’s Right to Play,” marking the 30th anniversary of The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. In mid-December, this article was published in The Conversation. Click here to read the article in The......

In the fall of 2019, the ‘Minimum Planning Requirements Regulations’ were added to the Nova Scotia Municipal Government Act. The regulations added ‘recreation facilities and public open spaces’ to the list of elements that must be included in municipal planning strategies. Similar changes were made to the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter. This was an important......

New research from Statistics Canada’s Canadian Health Measures Survey reaffirmed the dramatic decline in Canadian children’s fitness seen over the past 35 years with only a third of Canadian school-aged children meeting physical activity guidelines. Other research from the same survey showed that physical activity increases when children are outdoors, with each additional hour spent......

Make sure your voice is heard. Ontario Parks is halfway through the Healthy Parks Healthy People consultation period. The time to submit your feedback on nature and health is now! We know nature is a valuable tool for producing positive health outcomes. Ontario Parks is ready to take action, but they need your help first.......

From October 8-9, 2019, the Uppsala Health Summit was held at the Uppsala Castle, Sweden. The theme of the summit was Healthy Urban Childhoods with a focus on how to strengthen the child perspective in urban planning to create healthier and more inclusive cities for children. Topics covered at the summit included child-friendly city planning,......

Check out the new documentary “Running Free: Children’s Independent Mobility”! Told through the eyes of 3 families, this 26-minute documentary explores the concept of children’s independent mobility, the benefits for children’s mental health, and challenges viewers to consider solutions to this issue. Watch it here:...

Honour Award The Outdoor Play Canada Honour Award is the highest form of recognition by Outdoor Play Canada. The award is designed to recognize and celebrate an individual/organization who has demonstrated exceptional and sustained leadership for the promotion of outdoor play in Canada. Qualified nominees are individuals/organizations who have made outstanding contributions to outdoor play......

Ottawa, September 27, 2019 – Outdoor Play Canada was launched today at the Breath of Fresh Air Outdoor Play Summit in Ottawa – an open-air conference where outdoor play thought leaders, practitioners, researchers, and policy-makers gathered to exchange knowledge and best practices for promoting outdoor play. Outdoor Play Canada has a vision that outdoor play......

Are you looking for a Breath of Fresh Air? The first national Outdoor Play Summit is only 50 days away! Join us September 27-29th, 2019 for a national forum on outdoor play, taking place in an open-air environment, located at the Ottawa Forest and Nature Schools and Wesley Clover Park’s Campground, where thought leaders, practitioners, researchers and......

Ever since an unnecessary threat from police against a six-year-old simply playing a game of road hockey in front of his home, the residents in the town of Beloeil, Quebec have grown upset about the lack of opportunity that their kids have to play freely outside. Since then, street-play initiatives have resulted in the designation......

The Canadian Public Health Association recently released a toolkit composed of infographics, research summaries, decision-making tools, promising practices, and a discussion document. The toolkit provides excellent resources and information on the importance of unstructured play, how to develop policy to facilitate play within schools and communities, and current research in the field of risky play.......

The Children’s Play Policy Forum has today issued a policy statement identifying a crisis in childhood and calling for more children’s play opportunities. The cancellation of public liability insurance for children’s playgrounds comes at a time when new research is encouraging less screen time and more outdoor play. The Children’s Play Policy Forum is made up......

From September 27th-29th, 2018, the University of British Columbia Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies hosted the Levelling the Playing Fields: Strategies to Promote Outdoor Play 2018 Roundtable. The goal of the roundtable was to develop a (research) strategy for systematically creating opportunities for outdoor play in schools and communities in Canada.   Learn more......

From May 8-10, 2018, the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association hosted The Gathering Strength: Framework for Recreation in Canada 2018 Forum, to build relationships, continue dialog and work in cooperation towards achieving the values, goals, and priorities identified in the 2015 A Framework for Recreation in Canada – Pathways to Wellbeing. Forum sessions focused on......

On April 21st, 2018, Ecology Ottawa hosted their annual summit, with the theme Activate Ottawa Parks. The goal of the summit was to foster relationships between people in the community, generate ideas for ongoing participation, and build momentum to make Ottawa parks even better.   Learn more about the 2018 Summit here, and about other......

The StreetPLAY Pilot Program, led by Earth Day Canada in collaboration with the City of Toronto, closed 7 street sections in an inner-urban neighbourhood in Toronto to promote children’s play. Researchers from the TRANSFORM lab (led by OPC’s Leadership Group Member, Dr. Raktim Mitra) at Ryerson University evaluated the pilot project to assess the impact......

In 2017, the International Play Association hosted their Triennial World Play Conference: Unleashing the Power of Play, in Calgary, Alberta. This triennial conference is for play researchers, advocates, designers, educators, practitioners, providers, and policymakers and aims to celebrate play, understand its many benefits, and provide all children with the chance to engage in rich, meaningful,......

From May 30-31, 2016, KidActive led a 2-day Risky Play and Outdoor and Unstructured Play Workshop at the Thunder Bay and District Health Unit as part of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge; a program funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-term care aimed at improving children’s health by promoting healthy behaviours. The Risky Play......

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The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child guards every child’s right to engage in play.