Outdoor Play Resources

As we come across interesting and useful bits of information pertaining to young children and the outdoors, we post it here. This may include research summaries, scholarly articles, news clippings, or links to great websites promoting outdoor play. Hopefully our readers will find this compilation helpful!


Accelerometer measured level of physical activity indoors and outdoors during preschool time in Sweden and the United States. Study from 2012 concluding physical activity in preschool is greater outdoors than indoors. Also concludes Swedish preschoolers spend 47% of their school day outdoors as opposed to 18% for children in the United States.


From Pediatrics in 2015, Active Play Opportunities at Child Care studied preschool children in full=time care in Seattle-area child care centers, and concluded that these children only spent 33 minutes of their day outdoors, and that for 88% of their time they had no active play opportunities.


In this published review of Canada’s Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play, the reader must wade through a lot of political mumbo-jumbo, but underneath is a really interesting discussion of balancing the need for more active outdoor play with realistic risk management. The source citation list has almost 200 relevant sources listed! A great read for someone ready to take a “big bite” of this issue. For those only wanting a taste, the position statement is: “Access to active play in nature and outdoors—with its risks— is essential for healthy child development. We recommend increasing children’s opportunities for self-directed play outdoors in all settings—at home, at school, in child care, the community and nature.”


“If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” -Vincent Van Gogh