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.

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    "Play Time" exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art - May 22 to September 6 - The contemporary art show Play Time poses a serious question about a seemingly unserious topic: Is play—the spontaneous, unstructured time found to foster creativity and problem-solving skills—strictly for kids?

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  • Playground Maintenance Training in Tukwila, Washington - October 21 to October 22 - The Playground Maintenance Certificate of Completion Program is an affordable, entry-level program to provide the knowledge required to perform regular inspections of play spaces. The two-day multimedia training program delivers practical information through print resources, presentations, and hands-on training. At the conclusion of the program, participants receive a Certificate of Completion which serves as evidence of their newly acquired skill and knowledge. Email pmt@clemson.edu for details.

    2016 Play Conference - April 3, 2016 to April 6, 2016 - Mark your calendars because you will NOT want to miss this!! After five years, the Conference on the Value of Play is getting a reboot! Starting with a change in dates – because April showers are way more fun than power outages and sleet – there are BIG PLANS for the 6th Annual Play Conference. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears perked because spring has sprung – and so have we! More details to come!