Research Articles

Most of the articles posted on this page are published in academic journals, many of which require a subscription. If you cannot access an article that you are interested in reading we encourage you to either purchase it or check with your local library to see if they have access to it. In the meantime, please enjoy the information that we have provided.

'Play Freely at Your Own Risk'

A history of adventure playgrounds, which offer children the opportunity for no-rules recreation.

  • The Rising Costs of Youth Sports, in Money and Emotion

  • Creating an American Play Policy: Lessons from Government Play Policies in the United Kingdom

  • Simon Nicholson's article "How NOT to Cheat Children- The Theory of Loose Parts"

  • Adventure Playgrounds, Playwork, and Loose Parts- A Historical Perspective

  • Play Builds Serious Skills

    Referencing several research studies, this article highlights the importance of make-believe and unstructured play for children. Researchers found make-believe play allows kids to practice self-regulation, which subsequently contributes to higher executive functions and success in life.

  • Annotated Bibliography on Children and Nature

    Today the Children and Nature Network and the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication released a fantastic new resource on children and nature. This annotated bibliography documents the evidence supporting the effect of outdoor experiences on children and the benefits that arise from these experiences. At over 50 pages long, you are certain to find many great articles to read.

  • Family Guide for Getting Active!

    This page contains a useful set of links to help families get active! Information is sorted by family, parents and kids, and also includes information about US-based sports organizations.


    US Play Coalition’s 2015 Conference on the Value of Play: Advancing Play - February 15 to February 18 - This conference is an opportunity to share how you are implementing innovative strategies to engage your community in play. We also seek research that illuminates the diverse benefits of play including physical, social, emotional, and cognitive well-being. Our goal is to bring these many perspectives together and to facilitate the development of new methods of advancing the play movement. Keynote speakers include Dr. Peter Gray and Dr. Kevin Ross Emery.

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  • Active Living Research 2015 Conference - February 22 to February 26 - Mark your calendars for February 22 - 26, 2015 and plan to join ALR in sunny San Diego. Check the ALR website for updated conference details. Look for the Call for Abstracts to be released May 2014.

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  • The 2015 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites - March 29 to April 2 - "GWS2015 is your place to engage with colleagues who share your commitment to excellence ... to educate yourself about the latest trends and ideas ... to raise expectations for yourself and your career!" This event will be held in Oakland, California on March 29–April 2, 2015.

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  • Children & Nature Network Conference 2015 - April 7 to April 9 - Join leaders from around the world to hear what others are doing to create nature-rich communities that are so critical to the health and wellbeing of children and families. Learn about the latest research and policies, hear from leading health and urban planning experts, and discover innovations in technology that bring new audiences to nature. You don’t want to miss this ground-breaking conference.

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