children’s outdoor play

February 19, 2011


Kloppenmum’s post on kids and risk reminded me of an Australian study conducted four years ago.

The study was called “Popping the Bubble Wrap”.  Children in primary school had their playground and their creative play transformed when ‘loose parts’ were added. Things like buckets, hay bales, wooden planks, milk crates, truck tyres.

The children’s cooperation, creativity, and activity increased. The usual playground games in Australia are handball, basketball, and soccer. I see a lot of non-sporty kids wandering around not knowing what to do. Some schools open up the computer lab at recess and lunchtime for those kids, which is not active or social.

I heard that as soon as the researchers left, the loose parts were removed due to the risk.

You can read about the study in these places…


Journal reference (this took a while to find):

Bundy A, Naughton G, Wyner S, Tranter P (2008). Taking a risk with active play: A low-cost intervention using “loose part” materials in the school ground. American Journal of Occupational Therapy.

Powerpoint document:
Go down the page to the title “Promoting Play & Playfulness”.

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About hakea

groupworker, parent educator, therapist, mother of three boys.

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9 Comments on “children’s outdoor play”

  1. kloppenmum Says:

    You’re too good to me! Thanks for the ping. 😉


  2. hakea Says:

    I only remembered the study because of your post. So, thank you to you too!


  3. kloppenmum Says:

    Did have a giggle today.
    The Butterfly doesn’t speak as well as the others at his age, but he can say, “Mummy stuck” very clearly. Obviously, he’s been in enough tight spaces already to know the important words!


  4. hakea Says:

    That’s very cute. Those are very handy words to know!


  5. yelenam Says:

    Thank you for the links. Reading kloppenmum’s blog reminded me to stop constantly communicating my fears to my son (both with words and with actions) and the other links made me think of all the cool toys to add to our little backyard playground – pallets and crates and an old tire and a few pieces of 2×4 lumber… Can’t wait for the warm weather!


  6. lifewithgoblins Says:

    Hi! Browsing through your blog again! I really loved the link because it pointed out that not only do children need the exercise of physical health, but to release stress as well. This is such a great reminder of how they need balance in their activities, and the activities we encourage them to do can stick with them for life. Exercise is a wonderful stress release for children and adults. And these little ones are stressed! They have to learn so much in this complex world…..they need that outlet. 🙂 TY!


  7. Children's Outdoor Toys Says:

    Hi, thanks for your share with us. It was very nice to read it.


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