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 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.

  • Play, Play and Play Some More: Let Children Be the Animals They Have the Right to Be

    A blog posting that links the study of play behavior in animals with what human children need.

  • Presentation: The Importance of Play and Playfulness in Working with Traumatised Children and Adolescents

    In this presentation, Peter Blake discusses the importance of understanding the emotional significance of the origins of play, and how this understanding is useful in the emotional assessment and therapeutic interactions with traumatized children and adolescents. Building on the work of Winnicott, there will be a discussion as to why being able to play and being in a state of playfulness is necessary in maintaining a personal sense of self. This presentation was recorded at the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) in March 2009 at New South Wales, Australia.

  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Report Stresses Play for Healthy Development

    A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says free and unstructured play is healthy and - in fact - essential for helping children reach important social, emotional, and cognitive developmental milestones as well as helping them manage stress and become resilient. The report, "The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds," is written in defense of play and in response to forces threatening free play and unscheduled time. These forces include changes in family structure, the increasingly competitive college admissions process, and federal education policies that have led to reduced recess and physical education in many schools.

  • Active Living Research - Syntheses, Summaries and Briefs

    This online repository of summaries from existing literature on active living is updated periodically.

  • Blog post: how play can build resilience in adults

    Steve Beseke discusses how play is crucial to our lives, our health, our liveliness, our resilience and innovation and so much more. He also provides several characteristics of play.

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    International Walk to School Day - October 8

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  • 3rd Global Conference: Play - November 1 to November 3 - Saturday 1st November – Monday 3rd November 2014 Prague, Czech Republic

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  • US Play Coalition’s 2015 Conference on the Value of Play: Advancing Play - February 15, 2015 to February 18, 2015 - 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, 2015 to February 26, 2015 - 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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