Browse all content related to outdoor play and Practice.

Congratulations to Heather Wilson recently appointed as the new Child and Nature Alliance of Canada (CNAC) Executive Director! Heather spent two decades working with national non-profit and charitable organizations before joining CNAC in 2018 as the Director of Operations and Finance. While her most pressing priority is to support parents, practitioners, and educators to #thriveoutside......

This October, ParticipACTION is challenging Canadians to get active, get exploring, and get winning with the Great Big Move! From Oct 1st – 31st, team up with 2-7 friends, colleagues or family members on the ParticipACTION app, virtually explore Canadian active destinations, log move minutes, and unlock milestones to increase your chances of winning up......

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......

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......

Thank you to Ellen Beate Hansen Sandseter and Ole Johan Sando (Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education, Trondheim, Norway) for providing this post.   Physical activity in childhood is beneficial for children’s long-term health and development, and the early childhood education and care (ECEC) institution is considered an essential arena for promoting physical......

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.......

Thank you to Louise Zimanyi and Olga Rossovska, Professors of Early Childhood Education at Humber College, for providing this post. “I Speak Frog: Storying Seasonal Narratives of Children’s Common Worlds” is part of a special peer-reviewed series published through the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario’s eceLink. The full article can be accessed here.......

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......

After a school year that saw students spend hours in front of screens and little time playing outdoors, a shift appears to be happening this summer break. With many parents continuing to work from home, and summer camp programs closed or limited in capacity, children are suddenly experiencing the freedom to roam on their own.......

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 recent story for the newly-launched New Brunswick tourism website, Dr. Willi Broeren, a family doctor in Fredericton and an outdoors enthusiast, put together a compelling list of 8 benefits of spending time in nature, pulling from research in psychology, epidemiology, neuroscience, and medicine. The list includes: Spending time in nature makes us happy......

In a recent blog post for the Child & Nature Network, Trish O’Kane, lecturer at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont, discusses her personal path to discovering nature as a source of healing, how her experiences motivated her to create a community-based course for undergraduate students to connect......

In a recent article for The Conversation, Negin Riazi, PhD Candidate, and Guy Faulkner, Professor, in the School of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia, discuss the importance of independent mobility for children’s mental and physical health and development, the impact of COVID-19 on children’s ability to get outdoors freely, as well as the......

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 blog post for Child and Nature Alliance of Canada, Petra Eperjesi, manager of National Programs at Forest School Canada, outdoor teacher and parent, describes her rediscovery of play as the language of children and as a therapeutic outlet, as she participates in her son’s make-belief game involving a troll, the powerful FLASH,......

In a recent piece for the New York Times, Lorraine Allen discusses the impact of COVID-19 related confinement on children in Spain and Italy. Her article centres around the findings from a recent study collaboratively produced by researchers from Miguel Hernandez University (Spain) and University of Perugia (Italy; publication under review), which describes increases in......

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......

In a piece for the Centre for Active Living, Kassi Boyd, the Community Impact Coordinator at The Steadward Centre for Personal & Physical Achievement, and a 3rd year PhD student in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation at the University of Alberta, and Dr. Jennifer Leo, Director of The Steadward Centre for Personal &......

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......

Thank you to Michelle E.E. Bauer, PhD Candidate (Interdisciplinary Health Science, University of Ottawa), for providing this post.   As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the physical and emotional wellbeing of Canadians across the country, conversations abound on how best to help families cope. Outdoor play, if done safely (only with household members and......

Last week, Dr. Mariana Brussoni from the University of British Columbia spoke with Dr. Katherine Frohlich (University of Montreal) and Kate St-Arneault (PhD student, University of Montreal) about outdoor play during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the bilingual webcast, Dr. Brussoni, Dr. Frohlich, and Ms. St-Arneault discuss the consequences of physical distancing on their families’ ability......

The Child and Nature Alliance has published their first podcast in partnership with Evergreen Brickworks and the Trillium Foundation. This is the first of a series of podcasts that will focus on highlighting the Forest and Nature School pedagogy. In the podcast, host Stephanie Smith speaks with Gemma and Natalia, two youth play animators on......

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......

March 5, 2020 1pm Eastern/10am Pacific An emerging theme of recent Canadian Parks Collective for Innovation and Leadership (CPCIL) Park Leaders Development Programs is the need to support the mental health and wellbeing of people who work for park agencies, often on the front lines of climate change, natural disasters, and biodiversity loss and nearly......

The Canadian Outdoor Summit is an epic, national, historic project where participants are invited to excitedly co-create a reality where outdoor programs can thrive and be appreciated for their true worth.  The Summit will enable the creation of a more unified, national outdoor community and begin to remove roadblocks currently affecting outdoor programming. The national outdoor......

Winter Walk Day is celebrated by schools across Ontario on the first Wednesday of February each year. Walking and wheeling to and from school is fun every day. We encourage you to journey outside throughout the entire month of February. This year, Winter Walk Day is Wednesday 5 February 2020. Students across the province will celebrate......

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......

Thank you to Martin van Rooijen, MEd, PhD-candidate (University of Humanistic Studies, the Netherlands) for providing this post and photo. Day care and after-school care programs can be fun places for children to play with others, be rowdy, and generally exhaust themselves before their parents pick them up after a long day of work. Though......

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......

Yesterday, Dr. Mark Tremblay was interviewed by CTV Ottawa about the decline in outdoor play among Canadian children and youth and what we can do about it. Click here to view the 4-minute segment....

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.......

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......

The second edition of the Canadian Parks Conference will be held at the Québec City Convention Centre from October 7 to October 10, 2019 on the topic Parks for all and all for parks. The issues that will be addressed include collaboration, connecting to nature, conservation, and leadership. The event is coming up soon. If you......

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......

This year’s ‘Kid’s Run for Nature’ raised over $180,000 in support of the conservation work of World Wildlife Fund Canada. The nation-wide movement, which was founded in 2015, now takes place in over 25 locations from coast to coast. Throughout the months of May, June, and July 2019, events were held in a variety of......

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 Alberta Recreation and Parks Association is a not-for-profit organization committed to building healthier, happier communities and citizens by developing and promoting recreation and parks. On Monday they released their Play Charter Guides. These ‘how to’ guides are intended to help municipalities and organizations improve play in their communities. They are based on the experiences......

Play Outside NS shares a common goal of promoting, facilitating and communicating the importance of outdoor play in the early years, to foster health and well-being. Join them this July and August for a series of knowledge sharing events with “Summer to PLEY” (Physical Literacy in the Early Years). The series is funded by the......

Ontario Parks recognizes the importance of connecting to nature and the positive effects it has on our well-being. As a part of the ‘Healthy Parks Healthy People’ campaign, visit your nearest Ontario park on July 19th, 2019 to join the celebration and enjoy free all-day access! There is so much to discover, with over 330......

What is Outdoor Classroom day? Outdoor Classroom day is a global campaign to inspire outdoor learning and play. On this day last year, hundreds of schools and over 3.5 million children joined together to bring awareness to the importance and benefits of bringing the classroom and playtime outside. These benefits include improving children’s overall health......

“Step Outside, Get Dirty, Connect to Nature” Earth Day Canada is working to help people spend quality time connecting with the outdoors, encouraging everyone to spend time outdoors every day to support health, happiness, and the planet. Here are a few of the things happening this Earth Month! #FreeYourPlay  Take a photo and share how you......

The Great Trail, now consisting of more than 24,000 kilometres of multi-use trails, has launched a new campaign; Deeply Connected which will highlight the connection every Canadian has with the The Great Trail while showcasing the ways the Trail benefits our health, our economy and our diverse cultures. OUR MISSION: We will promote and assist in......

BREATH OF FRESH AIR Outdoor Play Summit September 27-29, 2019 Ottawa, Ontario Are you passionate about providing a breath of fresh air to children through outdoor play? Join us for Breath of Fresh Air, a two-day Outdoor Play Summit where thought leaders, practitioners, researchers, and policy makers can connect and share best practices. This innovative......

OUTSIDEPLAY.ca is a fantastic resource for parents to explore and better understand risky play, why it is so important, and how to have the confidence to encourage risky play for children. The online tool guides users through a personalized journey, allowing them to determine their approach when it comes to risky play, decide what changes they......

Registration for Healthy Parks, Healthy People has just opened. The 2019 Healthy Parks Healthy People Forum will bring together parks and recreation professionals, health professionals, researchers, policy-makers, academics, students, trainees and community members to share the latest research, best practices, and progressive policies related to the human health and well-being benefits of nature. This includes both direct contact with nature......

The Power of Play documentary is now out! Watch unusual inter-species animals play and communicate, as top play scientists examine the root and importance of play among humans and animals....

Save the date! The 2019 Canadian Parks Conference is set to take place in Quebec City on October 7 to 10. Join over 400 Canadian and international professionals and partners from all sectors of society who plan to meet and make positive change to support healthy nature and healthy people, for our generation and the one to come. The conference is focused on expanding Canada’s collective awareness, understanding and appreciation......

“In a recent survey, Kamik found that nowadays, children participate in over 5-6 structured activities per week. Hence, there is hardly ever any time left to play freely, outside. In fact, children spend 30-35% less time playing outside than their parents did.” Structured activities, such as soccer practice, swim lessons and dance class can be......

On January 20th, 2019 at 8pm, The Nature of Things will be releasing a documentary called The Power of Play. In addition to talking about the importance of play in children, the documentary touches on play in mammals, amphibians, reptiles and even insects! We know humans and pets love to play, but it is interesting to watch......

Playgrounds with plastic slides, rubber ‘doodads’ and metal monkey bars seem to be the norm these days, but not for North Battleford, Saskatchewan. In September 2018, they opened a natural playground in Centennial Park made from boulders, tree trunks and a teepee made by local elders. This playground was built by Battleford’s Early Childhood Intervention......

The article by Jennifer Anderson titled “Why the Danes encourage their kids to swing axes, play with fire, and ride bikes in traffic” illustrates how Denmark is setting the stage for what early childhood education and childcare should look like by creating playgrounds and schoolyards that encourage free and risk play using natural elements. This article discusses......

To educate communities about the importance of spending time outdoors, Come Alive Outside , together with Landscape Ontario, has found a way to create green space where kids (and adults!) can get creative, outside. On specific days during the summer months, sod is laid down on segments of streets in Ontario communities, creating a temporary outdoor space......

How do you use parks? Why are they important to you? Parks for All is a collaborated effort led by Canadian Parks Council and Canadian Parks and Recreation Association and encourages individuals to recognize how we all benefit from access to healthy parks, green space and natural areas. Our mutual connection with nature in turn connects......

PLAY LOOKS LIKE.     PLAY SOUNDS LIKE.       PLAY FEELS LIKE. Collective Impact has been lauded as a way to demonstrate how many organizations focused on common outcomes can  make big differences. In 2017 the City of Calgary and 36 organizations came together to create a play charter. Calgary’s Play Charter is intended to......

Mariana Brussoni, an injury prevention researcher and developmental psychologist at the University of British Columbia is concerned we are keeping our kids too safe. Children require the mental and physical space to figure out appropriate risk levels for themselves, writes Dr. Brussoni in an article titled Why kids need risk, fear and excitement in play. It is......

Some of our fondest memories are from spending time playing outside yet children nowadays are being limited in their ability to roam and play out of doors.  Earth Day Canada believes outdoor play is the foundation of environmental education and action and should be a natural part of the day to day lives of children.......

Happy Take Me Outside Day! This day is a reminder to get outside. Unplug. Be active. Connect with nature. Play in the fresh air. Believe it or not, Canadian youth are spending nearly 8 hours a day in front of screens and as a result outdoor time is dwindling. This lack of outdoor time is impacting......

With a growing body of evidence supporting the link between a healthy environment and healthy society, the Healthy Parks, Healthy people movement which originally launched in Australia, has expanded to receive global attention. In May (1-2) 2019, Ottawa will be hosting the two day Healthy Parks, Healthy People Forum to bring together parks and recreation......

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Kids are healthier, more resilient, stronger and more active when they play outside.