Outdoor play articles
Articles, news & blogs, from the UK & internationally, on access to, & evidence for, the benefits of nature & outdoor play.
Arranged in chronological order, most recent at the top
‘Let children play’: the educational message from across Europe
While approaches may differ, the importance of free time to play is increasingly being recognised. 23 April 2021
Play program puts children in touch with nature
‘Immersing children in unstructured free play in nature (like the bush, green spaces and gardens) has a myriad of benefits, according to a world-first Australian review of studies into nature play.’ Brisbane Times (Aus), 22 February 2020
Mother Nature: reshaping modern play spaces for children’s health
The researchers of the 2020 Australian study into the importance of nature play discuss their work and its findings. Newswise (Aus), 14 February 2020
Forest School Superhero Activities – 12 Ideas
‘Practical superhero activities that you can promote in your forest school setting for these superhero addicts amidst your ranks.’ Early Impact, 2019
What will they learn when all they do is play?
A nice blog post looking at what children will learn when they are given time, space and freedom to investigate and explore at their own pace. Early Childhood Outdoors (ECO), 2019
40 Astounding Benefits of Outdoor Nature Play for Kids
Article looking at some of the research on the benefits of nature play for children, with a list of benefits sectioned into Mental and Emotional Health, Physical health and Character development. List can be downloaded for printing. Parents with Confidence, (US), 2019
Scotland pledges healthy meals and outdoor play for pre-school children
“This is a unique opportunity … to ensure no child in ELC goes hungry or misses out on the benefits of outdoor learning, exercise and play.” Nursery World, 20 December 2018
Nurturing Little Explorers
‘What can you do to make getting out and about more enjoyable for both you and the children, so that they can reap all the benefits of the great outdoors?’ Mummy Fever, 10 October 2018
Writing Prescriptions to Play Outdoors
Inspired by Richard Louv’s work on Nature Deficit Disorder, Dr Zarr is the founder and medical director of Park Rx America, a nonprofit that encourages doctors to prescribe parks, based on the expanding scientific literature that shows that spending time outdoors is good for physical and mental health. New York Times (US), 16 July 2018
Parents encouraged to let their children explore the great outdoors
A charity is ‘calling for a new drive to encourage parents to get their children playing outdoors. Dr Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s chief medical officer, said the benefits of outdoor learning, exercise and play were well documented….’ The Herald, 24 February 2018
The Dying Art of Tree Climbing
Article considering the risks and benefits of tree climbing, and offering some tips for supporting your child to climb trees safely. Childhood by Nature, c2017
Disability and Inclusion: Making Outdoor Play Accessible
by David Williams, 2016, on First Discoveries
Selection of articles on the importance of nature activities for little ones. Community Playthings, c2015
Selection of articles on the joys and benefits of outdoor play. Community Playthings, c2015
Children Must Engage in Active Play for Optimal Brain Function
“Children must engage in active play for optimal brain function… A new study shows the brain-body connection is stronger than many people realized.” Liberty Voice (US), 30 September 2014
What’s Better: Indoor or Outdoor Play?
If you’re reading this you probably know the answer to this question! But this well-referenced article cites multiple research that proves the benefits of outdoor play, and counters some arguments for staying indoors. Psychology Today (US), 5 April 2014
What is Nature Play?
Webpage looking at nature play, why it is important, the challenges to doing it (and to not doing it) (to people and the environment) and how to bring it back. Green Hearts (US) (an excellent resource, no longer active, but left online for its useful content), c2014
A Parents Guide to Nature Play
A free-to-download pdf: ‘In 20 concise pages you can learn about what makes great nature play, why it is important, and how you can restore it to your children’s daily lives.’ Green Hearts (US), c2014
77 Reasons Kids Need Playgrounds
Comprehensive list of research & quotations covering areas including health benefits, emotional & physical skill development, learning & fun. AAA State of Play (US), c2014
What can we learn from climbing trees?
Interview with a professional tree-climber looking at the benefits and risks of tree climbing and why it seems to be in decline. BBC News Magazine, 22 April 2008