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.


    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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  • Kids to Parks Day 2015 - May 16 - Children, families, teachers, cities, towns, and parks are gearing up for this year’s Kids to Parks Day (KTP), a nation-wide day of outdoor play organized by National Park Trust (NPT) in cooperation with a host of local and national collaborators. This year’s KTP Day will be held on Saturday May 16, 2015, the week before the official start of summer. NPT is encouraging children across the country to explore their neighborhood parks and discover science, history, nature and adventure right around the corner or just across town.

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