Designing for Outdoor Play (06-26-20)

Brussoni and colleagues studied children (10- to 13-years old) in three diverse urban neighborhoods in Canada engaged in unsupervised outdoor activities (UOA), which in the words of the researchers “are key for thriving children and societies.”  Data were collected via interviews.  The investigators determined that “There has been increasing recognition of the importance of children's outdoor play and independent mobility for thriving children, neighbourhoods, cities and society. . . . Analyses revealed two themes: First, ‘feeling safe’ encompassed a sense of social and physical safety, including children's sense of neighbourliness, social dangers, discomfort around traffic, and personal agency to keep themselves safe. Second, having ‘things to do,’ included . . . having other children to play with, diverse amenities and access to nature, and opportunities for challenge and risky play.” In brief:  “Children identified feeling safe and having things to do as necessary for UOA. Neighbourliness, other children, and personal agency helped children feel safe.  Children wanted friends to hang out with and things to do within walking distance.”

Mariana Brussoni, Yingyi Lin, Christina Han, Ian Janssen, Nadine Schuurman, Randy Boyes, David Swanlund, and Louise Masse.  “A Qualitative Investigation of Unsupervised Outdoor Activities for 10- to 13-Year-Old Children:  ‘I Like Adventuring But I don’t Like Adventuring Without Being Careful.”  Journal of Environmental Psychology,in press, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2020.101460