Browse all content related to outdoor play and Research.

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......

Thank you to Dr. Negin Riazi, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Health Sciences at Brock University, for providing this post. Children’s independent mobility refers to a child’s freedom to travel and play in their neighbourhood without the supervision of adults. However, there has been a steep generational decline in children’s independent mobility which is......

The LEGO Foundation recently released a new report entitled ‘Learning Through Play: Increasing impact, reducing inequality’, a review of evidence from around the world on play and learning in early childhood programs. Among the main findings of the report include the observation that learning through play can help children from all backgrounds develop the wide......

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 March 13, 2021, Dr. Mark Tremblay, chair of Outdoor Play Canada, was interviewed by Adrian Harewood on the CBC show ‘Our Ottawa’. Dr. Tremblay discussed major findings from the national survey of children and youth’s movement and play behaviours during COVID-19, that he led with researchers from universities across Canada, commissioned by ParticipACTION. In......

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......

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......

On February 17th, Strong Minds Strong Kids is hosting a webinar entitled ‘How Nature Benefits Kids and Youth’, featuring clinical psychologist Dr. Robin Alter. In the webinar Dr. Alter will discuss the evidence on the strong connection between nature and mental health and wellbeing.   For more information and to register: How Nature Benefits Kids......

Au nom de la Fondation Lawson et Jouons dehors Canada, nous vous invitons à répondre à une enquête volontaire destinée à recueillir des informations auprès des demandeurs de subventions canadiens sur le paysage actuel du financement du jeu extérieur au Canada. Cette recherche servira à soutenir les efforts de sensibilisation, à mettre en relation les......

On behalf of the Lawson Foundation and Outdoor Play Canada, we invite you to complete a voluntary survey designed to gather information from Canadian grantseekers on the current funding landscape for outdoor play in Canada. This research will be used to support efforts to raise awareness, connect stakeholders and funders, identify funding opportunities, and promote......

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,......

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  ...

In a recent article for The Conversation, Professor Patrick Lewis and Master’s student Whitney Blaisdell from the University of Regina, describe preliminary findings from their survey on play (or the lack thereof) during the pandemic, and provide recommendations on how to support play at home as we move forward into the new year. The authors......

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......

Thank you to Dr. Marja Roslund (University of Helsinki) for providing this post.   New research demonstrates causality between exposure to natural biodiversity, commensal microbiota of children, and immune regulation.   Comparative studies between children living in urban and rural environments have shown lower diversity of commensal microbiota and higher prevalence of immune-mediated diseases among......

On Friday, November 13th at 9pm EST, CBC will be airing Kids vs Screens, a documentary from The Nature of Things that explores the impact of excess screen time on children and youth’s mental health, development, and learning. Guest host Dan Riskin, a biologist, science journalist, and author explores the latest research on children and......

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......

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......

In the August 2020 series of HELP Coffee Talks, host Dr. Eva Oberle from the Human Early Learning Partnership at the University of British Columbia, discusses the state of outdoor play in Canada with Outdoor Play Canada’s Leadership Group member, Dr. Mariana Brussoni, and the role of outdoor learning in schools and how teachers can......

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......

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......

On July 15th, 2020, Active Bradford hosted the virtual JU:MP (Join Us: Move Play) Play Symposium 2020 to explore play in the modern world with like minded people. Outdoor Play Canada Research Manager Louise de Lannoy spoke at the event about the founding of Outdoor Play Canada, its mission, and strategic direction moving through the......

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 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 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 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 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 &......

Thank you to Dr. Hugues Sampasa-Kanyinga (MD, PhD Candidate, Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa) for providing this post.   The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (aged 5–17 years) recommend at least 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity,  no more than 2 hours of daily recreational screen time, and 9-11......

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......

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......

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......

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) on 20 November 2019, Play Wales published a new report where children and teenagers talk about what’s good about the play opportunities in their local area and how satisfied they are about when, how and where they can......

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.......

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......

Thank you to Amber Fyfe-Johnson, ND, PhD (Washington State University) & Pooja Tandon, MD, MPH (Seattle Children’s Research Institute, University of Washington) for providing this post. The preschool years are a critical period in life for growth, development, and for laying the foundation for healthy eating and physical activity behaviors. Research suggests that many preschoolers in......

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......

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. In July and August 2019, they hosted “Summer to PLEY” (Physical Literacy in the Early Years), a series of knowledge sharing events showcasing work from the PLEY project. They......

These days the primary goal of most home buyers is to maximize the size of their home, even if it sacrifices outdoor yard space. But how does this affect our children’s outdoor play? A recent Australian study published in Public Health Research & Practice, titled “Associations between the home yard and preschoolers’ outdoor play and physical activity,” discusses......

Outdoor play is increasingly recognized as a foundation for children’s healthy social, cognitive, emotional and physical development. As such, outdoor play has now been added to the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development, where experts have weighed in on 9 outdoor play related topics from play-based learning to designing cities to support outdoor play. The chapter recognizes......

During the school week, children and youth spend half their waking hours at school. Schools share the responsibility for making sure students get outside and get active during those times. Alongside instruction and programs, the built and natural environment of the school makes a difference for students’ health. Schoolyards Count! is a citizen-science project.  A......

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.......

More and more parents, practitioners, teachers, and researchers are interested in how nature can be beneficial for children as place to learn,play, socially interact, and become connected. A growing body of research published in the last decade shows promising results that regular classes in natural green environments (e.g. EOtC  – Education Outside the Classroom) can......

Nature Canada, a national charitable organization has released a report titled Screen Time vs. Green Time” The Health Impacts of too much Screen Time exposing the negative impacts of screen time on Canadian children and providing suggestions to guide children away from screens, and towards nature. Report highlights and findings In an article summarizing the Screen Time......

As we continue to understand the benefits of outdoor active play, and the consequences of screen time, research is expanding to explore the influence of outdoor play and screen time on specific areas of children’s health and development. A recently published study in PLOS ONE titled “Cross sectional associations of screen time and outdoor play with social skills......

There are many evidence-based benefits of outdoor play in children and youth including increased energy expenditure, the development of motor skills, improved social relationshiops (e.g., ability to develop and sustain friendships) and emotional well-being (e.g., increased happiness). Very little is known, however, about the relationship between outdoor play and eating habits. A recently published study in......

The article titled “The health benefits of the great outdoors: A systemic review and meta-analysis of greenspce exposure and health outcome“, was published by Caiomhe Twohig-Bennett and Andy Jones in Environmental Research with the objective of quantifying evidence for the impact of green spaces on a range of health outcomes. Prior to this publication,  no......

In case you were not yet convinced of the benefits of getting children outdoors….here is some more evidence! The Muddy Hands Report presents data from the Outdoor Classroom Day 2017 as well as a wide range of literature to highlight the benefits, barriers and solutions to getting children outdoors, for learning and play. The Muddy......

Children’s mental health, involving their emotional, psychological, and social well-being, is an important factor influencing children’s development of a sense of identity, positive self-esteem, healthy peer and family relationships, and stress coping mechanisms. Mental health issues therefore have the potential to prevent children from reaching developmental and social milestones, and persist into adulthood. Mental health issues......

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......

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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Kids with regular access to unstructured, child-directed outdoor play form a lasting, positive relationship with nature.