Research/Survey Reports

In this section

You will find listings by published years and A-Z.

If you have undertaken research about play and would like to put it on the Play Scotland website, please send a pdf report or the link to your website to sharonmccluskie@playscotland.org. If you would like to promote the research you are currently undertaking about play, please e-mail information about your project to sharonmccluskie@playscotland.org

‘Get children playing outdoors’ to improve academic success and reduce obesity

Campaigns to promote physical activity and reduce obesity among children should focus more on active outdoor play, according to a study led at the University of Strathclyde.

The Active Healthy Kids Scotland Report Card 2016 has found that children’s physical activity levels are continuing to fall well short of recommended levels.

By contrast, they are still spending far more than the recommended maximum of two hours’ free time a day in front of screens.

Full information here

 

“The default setting”: what parents say about gender stereotyping in their children’s early years – Zero Tolerance

Report, “the default setting” is the result of a large scale survey Zero Tolerance undertook with over 1300 parents and caregivers on gender stereotyping and children.

They asked Scottish parents and caregivers of children aged 1-10 a variety of questions about whether, and where, they felt their children were receiving messaging about what it meant to be a boy or a girl and in what practical ways this could be counteracted.

The results showed that respondents overwhelmingly supported treating children equally (94%), but they were concerned that their children were influenced by gender stereotyping; mostly prevalent in commercial settings (such as toy and clothes shops); in the attitudes of other parents and children and in children’s television and films.

Full information and report here

The impact of children’s perception of an activity as play rather than not play on emotional well-being

As an important aspect of health and development, a number of policy and practice initiatives across education, health and social care are aimed at increasing children’s emotional well-being. Links have been made between young children’s emotional well-being and play although empirical evidence is limited. This paper demonstrates that when children perceive an activity as play, they show more signs of emotional well-being than when they perceive the same activity as not play.

Full details

Leopard Skin Wellies, a Top Hat and a Vacuum Cleaner Hose: An analysis of Wales’ Play Sufficiency Assessment duty

Full details

How Healthy Behaviour Supports Children’s Wellbeing – Public Health England

Full details

Physical Activity and Body Image in Children

A report by Make Time 2 Play with contributions and recommendations by Dr Linda Papadopoulos, Ambassador for Make Time 2 Play.  Full details

Scotland’s People Annual Report: Results from 2012 Scottish Household Survey

The Scottish Household Survey (SHS) is designed to provide reliable and up-to-date information on the composition, characteristics, attitudes and behaviour of Scottish households and individuals, both nationally and at a sub-national level. It covers a wide range of topics to allow links to be made between different policy areas.

The annual report is designed to act as an introduction to the survey and to present and interpret some of the key policy-relevant results. The results are presented in the 12 main chapters covering: household composition; housing; neighbourhoods and communities; economic activity; finance; education; transport; internet; health and caring; local services; volunteering; culture and sport. At the start of each chapter introductory paragraphs draw on key policy documents to set the results that follow into the policy context for the topic it covers.

Some of the main findings relating to play were:

  • Almost nine in ten households  (88%) with young children have access to some form of play areas within their neighbourhood.Over half have access to a park (57%), whilst around half have access to either a playground (52%)or field or other open space (49%)
  • Generally, those households with young children within rural areas are more likely to say children would be very safe or fairly safe when walking or cycling to play areas on their own, ranging from around three-fifths for most play areas in urban areas to around four-fifths in rural areas.
  • Most householders with young children would feel comfortable with children being aged around 9 or 10 years old to play without supervision at such play areas. This increases to closer to 11 years old when playing within a natural environment or wooded area for those living in urban areas
  • Just less than three- quarters (73%) of young people aged 8 to 21 take part in some of activities regularly, with the majority of young people (53%) taking part in sports or sporting activity whether played competitively or not.

Full report

 

 

 

Zero to Eight – Young children and their internet use from LSE

Parent-led anxiety treatment from Reading University

Parent-led anxiety treatment could improve children’s lives

Building Blocks Crucial to Child’s Early Development

Building blocks ‘crucial to child’s early development’

 

RESEARCH PUBLISHED 2012

Exergaming Briefing paper from British Heart Foundation

This latest evidence briefing from the BHF National Centre summarises what is known about active video gaming (known as exergaming) from both laboratory and ‘real life’ research. It also provides recommendations on the use of exergaming as a physical activity intervention. To view click here

A Junk Free Childhood 2012

Study from International Association on the Study of Obesity

TV viewing and obesity in children and young people

Evidence from National Obesity Observatory. Link

Early Predictors of Objectively Measured Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in 8-10 Year Old Children: The Gateshead Millennium Study

Research
BBC news article

Sedentary Behaviour – Evidence Briefing from BHS

Scotland

  • 50% of boys and 19% of girls reported more than 2 hours of game playing (on a computer or games console) per day.
  • Among children aged approximately 4 years, 33% watched less than 60 minutes of TV per day and 30% exceeded 2 hours per day.
  • On weekdays, 62% of boys and 57% of girls aged 11 years exceeded 2 hours per day of TV viewing. These figures increased to 69% (boys) and 68% (girls) at age 15 years.
  • Additionally, 53% of boys and 29% of girls aged 11 years reported greater than 2 hours of computer game play (weekdays). At age 15 these figures increased to 64% in boys but decreased to 26% in girls.

Link

A critical review and analysis of current research and policy relating to disabled children and young people in Scotland

A report to Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People

Link

Growing up in Scotland Reports 2012

GUS have released 3 new reports in May 2012:

Childwise Trends Monitoring Report 2012

Key trends…

  • Three quarters of 5-16s now own their own computer; half have a laptop, and a quarter have a desktop PC, and around one in ten claim to have their own iPad or tablet PC
  • Two thirds of all 7-16 year olds can access the Internet in their own room, up from just a fifth in 2005
  • 7-16 year olds using the Internet do so on average for around two hours a day, and access on more than five days a week
  • Facebook and YouTube remain the top favourite websites, although attachment to Facebook is falling, with younger children now preferring Moshi Monsters
  • Three in five 5-16s have their own TV, down from a high of more than four in five in 2005. One in ten watch TV on their computer, and eight in ten use on-demand services to watch TV
  • Children watch an average of 2.5 hours of TV a day, falling from a peak of 2.8 hours in 2009
  • Seven in ten 5-16 year olds own a mobile phone, and the majority of owners now go online on their mobiles
  • There has been an increase in spending across most categories this year, whilst the amount given as pocket money has fallen back slightly

For full details and a copy of the report click here

Statistical Bulletin: Transport Series: National Travel Survey 2009/2010: Scotland Results

Publication Summary: Provides information about travel within Great Britain by Scottish residents, including average number of journeys per person per year, modes and purpose of travel, and distances travelled. The 2009/2010 publication also includes comparisons with Scottish Household Survey data.

Interesting results for children who walk to school. Full details

ToyBox – a European multi-country study of obesity prevention

for pre-school children

The first results have been published on this research. April 2012. To view click here

The Ribena Play Plus Report – April

The Ribena Team, a group of play experts and over 2,000 parents revealed in the Ribena Plus Play Report that:

  • 92% of parents believe that imaginary play is important but 16% don’t know how to create it with their child
  • Only 32% of kids still play with household items, but 70% play on video games while nine in ten watch DVDs
  • 30% of parents ‘feel under pressure to be fun’
  • One in seven parents say they ‘don’t know what they’re doing when they are playing with their kids.

To view click here

Natural Childhood by the Natural Trust

Research conducted on Nature Deficit Disorder. Full report click here

The shocking facts about Colouring-in Deficit Disorder Research undertaken by the Fwll Ebril Research Centre on Colouring In

Recent research from the Fwll Ebrill Research Centre shows a worrying decline in the childhood activity of colouring-in: a 63.27% reduction in time spent and a 54.2% reduction in area of paper (and associated media) covered over the last 30 years. And this is linked to an increase in a range of childhood disorders, including Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD), Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Full article

Annual Child Poverty Strategy Report released by Scottish Parliament, March 2012

Link

Trends in adolescent eating behaviour: a multilevel cross-sectional study of 11-15 year olds in Scotland, 2002-2010

Improving the diet of the Scottish population has been a government focus in recent years. Health promotion is known to be more effective in affluent groups. Alongside trends in eating behaviour, changes in socioeconomic inequalities must be monitored. Link

USA – Active Living Research

Building Evidence to Prevent Childhood Obesity and Support Active Communities

Regular physical activity promotes important health benefits, reduces risk for obesity and is linked with enhanced academic performance among students.

The U.S. Surgeon General recommends that children engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week, yet fewer than half of children ages 6 to 11 meet that recommendation. Research

Children in an Urban World 2012 from UNICEF

Almost half the world’s children now live in urban areas; the report calls for greater emphasis on identifying and meeting their needs. Research

Impact of an Active Video Game on Healthy Children’s

Physical Activity, AAP

Research undertaken by the American Academy of Pediatrics on the

impact of active video games and childrens physical activity.

Research

Travel to School and Physical Activity Levels in 9-10 Year-Old UK Children of Different Ethnic Origin; Child Heart and Health Study in England (CHASE)

Travel to school may offer a convenient way to increase physical activity levels in childhood. We examined the association between method of travel to school and physical activity levels in urban multi-ethnic children. To read full report click here.

Walking and the Cost of Car Use – Living Street

To view full research click here

The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bond: Focus on Children in Poverty – American Academy of Pediatrics

Play is essential to the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being of children beginning in early childhood. It is a natural tool for children to develop resiliency as they learn to cooperate, overcome challenges, and negotiate with others. Play also allows children to be creative. It provides time for parents to be fully engaged with their children, to bond with their children, and to see the world from the perspective of their child. However, children who live in poverty often face socioeconomic obstacles that impede their rights to have playtime, thus affecting their healthy social-emotional development. For children who are underresourced to reach their highest potential, it is essential that parents, educators, and pediatricians recognize the importance of lifelong benefits that children gain from play. Link

The Good Childhood Report 2012

Key findings in the Good Childhood Report 2012 (full text, summary) include:

  • Choice and family have the biggest impact on children’s happiness.
  • It is not the structure, but the relationships within a family that children care about. Loving relationships between a child and their family are ten times more powerful than family structure in increasing well-being.
  • Stability is important. Children who experience a change in family members they are living with are twice as likely to experience low well-being. Almost a quarter (23%) of children who have moved home more than once over the past 12 months have low levels of well-being.
  • Low well-being increases dramatically with age – doubling from the age of 10 (7%) to the age of 15 (14%).
  • Children as young as eight are aware of the financial issues their families face. Children in families who have experienced a reduction in income are more likely to have low well-being.
  • Children who do not have clothes to ‘fit in’ with peers are more than three times as likely to be unhappy with their appearance. Around a third say they often worry about the way they look. Unhappiness with appearance increases with age and is greater among girls.
  • Children who had been bullied more than three times over the last three months were significantly more likely to experience low well-being (36%) than those that had never been bullied (6%).
  • Children like to be similar to their friends. Children who have a lot less, or even a lot more pocket money than their friends, have lower levels of well-being.

RESEARCH PUBLISHED 2011

Enjoying the outdoors – attitudes and behaviour of young people in Scotland – Scottish Natural Heritage

Greenspace Scotland – Greenspace Survey 2011

Since 2004, when greenspace scotland first commissioned its biennial survey of greenspace use and attitudes, the number of people using Scotland’s urban greenspaces regularly had been rising. The 2011 survey shows a dramatic decline with the number of people using their local greenspaces once a week or more often falling from two-thirds (63%) in 2009 to just over half (54%) in 2011. People in the most deprived areas of Scotland are using their greenspaces even less often – with just 45% using them once a week.

This decrease in use is mirrored by significant falls in people’s rating (strongly agree) of their local greenspaces as: safe places for physical activity (60% in 2009 down to 49% in 2011); places where you can relax and unwind (63% down to 50%); attractive places (57% down to 48%); and good places for children to play (59% down to 52%). Previous surveys had shown clear upward trends with people increasingly agreeing strongly that their local greenspaces where good places for play, physical activity, relaxation.
To read full report click here

Playful Behavior Of Young Chimps Develops Like That Of Children University of Pisa, Italy

Playful behavior is widespread in mammals, and has important developmental consequences. A recent study of young chimpanzees shows that these animals play and develop much the same way as human children. The work, to be published in the Nov. 16 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE, can therefore also shed light on the role of human play behavior.
To read full article click here

Can weight loss reset health risks in heavy kids?

Overweight children who shed their excess pounds in adulthood don’t face a higher risk of obesity-related health problems, an analysis of four studies involving children and adults in the United States, Australia and Finland has concluded.
To read more click here

At 3.5 years future obesity may be predicted. University of Montreal study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

Researchers can predict which children are most likely to become obese by examining their mothers’ behaviour around their birth, according to a recent University of Montreal study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.
To read full article click here

Park-Based Physical Activity Among Children and Adolescents

Research from the USA on park-based physical activity among children and adolescents.
To read click here

Checking it out: Doing OK

Report for the children and young people and organisations who participated in the consultation research on the draft framework for the children and young people’s mental health indicators.

National Travel Survey 2010

Only 47% of Primary Pupils Walk to School

For full research and information click here

Dairylea Simple Fun Report

To view click here

Some key findings:

  • 84% of parents think childhood today is more complicated than in previous generations.
  • 74% of parents think technology plays too big a part in play, and 58% say they are concerned about the amount of time children spend in front of a screen.
  • More than half (57%) of nine year olds are restricted to within sight of their home, with 29% unable to venture out of the grounds – yet almost half of parents (44%) admitted to playing in secret dens in wooded areas and local parks when they were young.
  • Nearly two-thirds of children (62%) say their favourite person to play with is a friend of a similar age, yet over a third (36%) only get to see their friends outside of school once every 2 weeks or less.
  • When children were given a choice of activities that they would like to do more often, the most popular choice (chosen by 54% of children) was to play on their bikes or wheeled toys.

Using Evidence-based Strategies and QI to Address Childhood Obesity in Florida

To view click here

Children’s Risky Play from an Evolutionary Perspective: The Anti-Phobic Effects of Thrilling Experiences

To view click here

Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet: England, 2011

To view click here

What is the meaning and nature of active play for today’s children in the UK?

To view research click here

Growing up in Scotland

New findings from the Growing Up in Scotland study. Four new reports, using data from the first five years of GUS provide further evidence about the importance of children’s early experiences in determining later outcomes.

Links to the Research Summaries:

Parental service use and informal networks in the early years http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/05/11155852/0

Changes in child cognitive ability in the pre-school years http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/05/11155818/0

Parenting and children’s health
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/05/11160117/0

Change in early childhood and the impact of significant events
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/05/11160035/0

USA – Childhood obesity and proximity to urban parks and recreational resources: A longitudinal cohort study

To read full report click here

Community Play Specialist Pilot Project

Over the years, Action for Sick Children (Scotland) has dealt with many requests from both families and professionals for information and play support for children requiring medical treatment. Many of these queries have been about how to prepare children for major surgery, how to help children and their family cope after a traumatic/emergency admission and how to help siblings understand what is happening.

Action for Sick Children (Scotland) therefore funded a two year (October 2008 – October 2010)pilot Community Play Specialist project based in NHS Forth Valley.

To view findings click here

A Child’s Eye View – Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland

The Government has pledged to end child poverty by 2020, and acknowledges that low income and disadvantage in childhood impacts on children’s life chances throughout their lives. It has introduced a raft of policies to counteract the long-term effects of child poverty, and to improve the opportunities and life chances of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. However, little is known about how children from different socio-economic groups perceive and experience social difference. Liz Sutton describes a recent project by the Centre for Research in Social Policy that sought to find out.
To view click here

What is the meaning and nature of active play for today’s children in the UK?

Background

Preventing the decline in physical activity which occurs around 10-11 years of age is a public health priority. Physically active play can make unique contributions to children’s development which cannot be obtained from more structured forms of physical activity. Encouraging active play in children’s leisure time has potential to increase physical activity levels while promoting optimal child development. Aspired wisdom states that contemporary British children no longer play outdoors, but systematic evidence for this is lacking. We need to build a more informed picture of contemporary children’s play before we consider interventions to increase it.
To read full research click here

Children’s Playground Games and Songs in the new Media Age 2009 – 2011

This project, a collaboration between the Universities of London, Sheffield and East London with the British Library, aimed to develop our understanding of children’s playground games and songs, building on the Opie collection at the British Library. It has added new material, developed a new archive, website, film and computer game prototype, and investigated the connections between the vernacular lore of the playground and children’s media cultures in the digital age.

To read full report click here

Public Perceptions of Soundscapes in Open Urban Spaces

Study of open spaces and the reduction in noises such as children playing.
Fur full details click here

Growing up in Scotland(GUS)

Results February 2011

Childhood and parenting in today’s Britain

Mumsnet recently conducted a survey on childhood and parenting in today’s Britain.

Are children less safe than we were in our childhoods? Do they face too much media pressure about their appearance? In general children don’t play out on their own nowadays?

For further infomation and to view the results click here

Sex differences in chimpanzees’ use of sticks as play objects resemble those of children

To read full research

USA – New study finds TV watching in Infancy Associated with Lower Cognitive Development

We have a new study to add to research that suggests television can have a negative impact on infants and toddlers.

In a study of 259 families researchers found that babies who regularly watched TV had lower scores on cognitive and language tests at 14 months, U.S. News & World Report says.
To read full report

RESEARCH PUBLISHED 2010

Outdoor Learning and Play: parental survey report, from Scottish Parent Teacher Council and Grounds for Learning

SPTC joined forces with Grounds for Learning to find out what parents actually think about the outdoor element of their child?s school. In essence that covers everything about the outdoor spaces used for playing and learning, and anything else for that matter!
The short survey was completed by 52 respondents, many of whom also added very useful comments and examples – so lots of interesting and thought provoking information! While this is not a representative sample of parents, the information provided is nonetheless useful a thought provoking.

To read the full report click here

Berlin School Playgrounds: reflections by Grounds for Learning

Playing and learning in natural outdoor environments is good for children – they’ve been doing it for thousands of years. It stimulates physical activity, promotes creativity and helps develop social skills. It can create an appreciation of the natural world, relieve stress, develop resilience and bring learning to life. And it’s a lot of fun. While many Scottish children grow up with uninspiring asphalt school playgrounds and limited opportunities for natural play, some of our European neighbours have a different emphasis.

To read full report

Scottish Government – Child’s Play

Child’s play: The links between childhood encouragement and adult engagement in arts and culture. Evidence from the Scottish Household Survey Culture Module 2007/8

To read full report

Children’s play inhibited by inflated view of risk

Children have an inflated perception of risk and lack confidence in playing independently of adults, according to research from Nottingham Trent University.

To view report click here

No Ball Games here

Living Streets Research on how UK streets have become no-go areas for our Communties.

Growing Up in Scotland – 2010

Topic Research Findings: Research Findings No.4/2010: Growing Up in Scotland: Children’s social, emotional and behavioural characteristics at entry to primary school

To read full report click here

The contribution of active play to the physical activity of primary school children.

Active play makes a significant contribution to children’s physical activity and could play an important part in the health of future generations, a new study has found.

Many young people do not meet current UK physical activity guidelines. Preventing the decline in physical activity that occurs as children enter adolescence may reduce future risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity. To read full research click on link below:

The contribution of active play to the physical activity of primary school children by Rowan Brockman

Parenting Across Scotland

Parenting Across Scotland PAS MORI polls2010

Apes Play!

The University of Portsmouth have released research showing that gorillas hit-and-run in ‘games’ of tag in the same way humans do and for the same reason – to keep their competitive advantage, a new study has found.

It is the first study to show apes, like humans, will hit a playmate then run in order to try to get away with the upper hand.

To read more and view videos click here

Have you forgotten how to play?

IKEA have released research called Play Report. It involved 11,000 interviews in 25 countries resulting in a detailed report and a number of short films in which children from around the world talk about playing.

You can download the report and see the short fims online at the Make the world play more Facebook page.

There is also an online survey which you can take part in.

Is it safe to let your children walk to school?

A recent survey by Living Streets and Parentline Plus found that parents face significant barriers preventing them from allowing their children to walk to school.

To read research click here

Playday 2010 Research

To view the Playday 2010 Research please click on the undernoted three links:

Misc

Community, school and workplace initiatives to encourage individuals to use the outdoor environment for physical activity – NHS Scotland

Great Outdoors: How our Natural Health Service Use Green Spaces to Improve Our Wellbeing

Green spaces can play a vital role in the health of the nation. Access to a park or green space can have wide-ranging benefits for our health and wellbeing.

A safe, natural environment can be a break from our busy lives – a place to get some fresh air, to exercise or play – a place to go and relax.

Community Green – Using local spaces to tackle inequality and improve health, CABE

The undernoted research has been published by Growing up in Scotland (GUS)

Achieving a Healthy lifestyle is Child’s Play – University of Ulster

Television food advertising and the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity: a multicountry comparison – Cambridge Journals

Objective To estimate the contribution of television (TV) food advertising to the prevalence of obesity among 6-11-year-old children in Australia, Great Britain (England and Scotland only), Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden and the United States.
For further information click here

Impact of neighbourhood food environment on food consumption in children aged 9-10 years in the UK SPEEDY (Sport, Physical Activity and Eating behaviour: Environmental Determinants in Young people) study – Public Health Nutrition 2010

Poor diet in childhood increases risk of obesity but the relationship between access to food and children’s food choice is underexplored. We determined relationships between distance to and density of food outlets on children’s food choice. Distance to and density of food outlets are both associated with children’s food choice, although the impact appears to be small and the relationship is complex. However, the effects of individual foods combined could be important, particularly as even small differences in intake can impact on body weight over time.
For further information click here

RESEARCH PUBLISHED 2009

A Children’s Environment and Health Strategy for the UK – Health Protection Agency

Byron Review: Safer Children in a Digital World

Childhood and Nature: A survey on changing relationships with nature across the generations.

Nature England March 2009

Research undertaken by Natural England to explore the difference in contact with nature between today’s generation of children compared with the contact their parents generations had.

Children in the Outdoors
A literature review by Dr Sarah-Anne Munoz, Sustainable Research Centre
This review examins existing research on health and the outdoors. Children have been identified as one of the key social groups that could gain health benefits from the outdoors. (2009)

Crisis in the Kindergarten – Why Children Need to Play in School – Alliance in Childhood

The importance of play to young child’s development and learning has been documented beyond question in this research. (2009)

Developing a local index of child well-being (Research)

Research from the University of York, which put child well-being in the UK, 24th place in Europe.

For a copy of the press release click here

Forest School in England and Wales

Forest school is a unique educational experience using the outdoor environment of the forest as a classroom. Forest Schools are becoming widespread in England and Wales.

An evaluation of two Forest School projects by the New Economics Foundationhighlighted how they can increase young people’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Forest School provides opportunities for learning particularly for those who do not do as well in the school classroom.

The New Economics Foundation also produced a self -appraisal methodology so that Forest School leaders and teachers can evaluate other Forest Schools.

Growing Up in Scotland

GUS is an exciting new study that follows the lives of a national sample of Scotland’s children from infancy through to their teens. This is one of the largest longitudinal studies ever done in Scotland and will provide information that will help develop policies affecting children and their families in Scotland. (2009)

Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds – Physical Acitivity and Mental Health in Children and Young People

The role of physical activity in promoting mental wellbeing and preventing mental health problems in children and young people. Issued April 2009

No Ball Games Here

Living Streets Research – No ball games here (or shopping, playing or talking to the neighbours)

How UK streets have become no-go areas for our communities.

IJICSP: Trends in fall injuries associated with children’s outdoor climbing frames

Falls from publicly owned climbing equipment are often cited as the major

cause of injury on children’s outdoor playgrounds and have been the focus of substantial interventions in the UK since the early 1980s. (2009)

Physical Activity and Inequalities – Health Living

This briefing paper looks at the evidence base and discusses physical activity and inequalities. Includes practical examples and case study. (2009)

Promoting physical activity for children and young people

NICE Promoting physical activity, active play and sport for pre-school and school-age children and young people in family, pre-school, school and community settings. (2009)

RESEARCH PUBLISHED 2008

Acorns and Conkers – Play Scotland

Child and Adolescent Health Research

Website dedicated to improving understanding of child and adolescent health in Scotland.

Developing Play in Scotland Survey – Play Scotland

Get Scotland Moving – BMA

Key points from this research: One in four scots are dying from diseases related in inactivity; currently only half of 7 to 11 years olds are engaging in the recommended 60 mins of vigorous physical activity each day; the number of children travelling to school by car has doubled over the last 2

Growing Up in Scotland: Year 2: Results from the second year of a study following the lives of Scotland’s children

Within this report you can find stats about play, including the frequency of outdoor play for under fives within the Main Report from Year 2 of the study. To view report click here

Health behaviour in School-Aged Children

from World Health Organisation

This presents the key findings on patterns of health among young people aged 11, 13 and 15 years in 41 countries and regions across the WHO European Region and North America in 2005/2006. Its theme is health inequalities: quantifying the gender, age, geographic and socioeconomic dimensions of health differentials. Its aim is to highlight where these inequalities exist, to inform and influence policy and practice and to help improve health for all young people. (2009)

National Scientific Council on the Developing Child
Neighbourhood identity: effects of time, location and social class – Joseph Rowntree Foundation

A study of how neighbourhood identity is formed and the implications this may have for area renewal policies.

The study examines three neighbourhoods in Stirling, Scotland, and explores what it means to people to ‘come from’ each of these areas as a way of understanding issues of belonging and attachment to particular places. (2008)

Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills – Alix Speigel

(This report also can be heard in audio). (2008)

Outdoor Environment Key to Tackling Obesity and Mental Ill Health – Sustainable Development Commission

The way we plan and use our towns and cities has a critical impact on the health of communities, and could be key to tackling some of Britain’s health problems, according to the Sustainable Development Commission.

Although life expectancy in the UK is on the increase, healthy life expectancy is rising more slowly, with mental ill health, obesity, diabetes and other chronic illnesses an increasing problem. A growing body of evidence suggests that access to green space, a clean and safe environment, and easily accessible services and amenities – from shops and health services to public transport and work – can all have an effect on preventing and alleviating these conditions. (2008)

Play with their Minds

Article by Matthew Harvey on how rats play!

Physical Activity and Adolescent Girls

This is a summary of a research study undertaken for NHS Health Scotland to examine the current and emerging needs of the workforce involved in promoting physical activity to adolescent girls. November 2008

Physical Activity and the Environment – Nice
This guidance offers the first national, evidence-based recommendations on how to improve the physical environment to encourage physical activity. It demonstrates the importance of such improvements and the need to evaluate how they impact on the public’s health. (2008)

Scottish Play Commission – Play Scotland
In October 2007 Play Scotland received lottery funding to establish the Scottish Play Commission. This was to examine the ‘state of play’ in Scotland. In June 2008 Play Scotland launched the Findings of the Scottish Play Commission at the Scottish Parliament. (2008)

Supporting Looked After Children and Young People at School: A Scottish Case Study
This piece of research examined the arrangements for supporting looked after children in schools, including the transfer of information between social work and education, and the role of the designated senior manager with responsibility for looked after children. (2008)

RESEARCH PUBLISHED 2007

Adults’ attitudes towards contact with children and young people – SCCYP

An overview of child well-being in rich countries
A comprehensive UNICEF assessment of the lives and the well-being of children and adolescents in the economically advanced nations.

Can PLAY Diminish ADHD and Facilitate the Construction of the Social Brain?

Food for the Brain
Major New Initiative to Promote the Link between Children’s Nutrition and Mental Health

Local Authority Play Provision in Scotland – Play Scotland

Play Scotland commissioned a Play Provision Questionnaire to gather baseline information on play in a local authority context.

Play Scotland were keen to determine the level of support, policy and planning for play within the local authorities in the absence of a statutory duty for play.

Local Authority Play Provision in Scotland, Executive Summary – Play Scotland

Parenting behaviours and children’s development from infancy to early childhood (April 2007)

Using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALPSAC), they examined how children develop, how parenting behaviours change as children mature from infancy to early childhood, and the relationships between paretning behaviours and children’s development. (2007)

Park Life – Greenspace June 2007
First ever public satisfaction survey of Britain’s parks and green spaces.
Playday 2007 Research – Our streets too!

Word on the Street

Street Play – A literature Review

Attitudes Towards Street Play (ICM)

Setting children free: children’s independent movement in the local environment – UCL

Parental concerns about children’s safety and security are restricting children’s independent exploration of the local environment. Children are being denied important opportunities to exercise, to acquire decision-making skills, such as crossing the road safely, and to develop social skills through interaction with their peers. This paper presents findings from the project CAPABLE (Children’s Activities, Perceptions And Behaviour in the Local Environment) being carried out at University College London. Based on findings from fieldwork carried out with children aged 8-11 in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, the paper shows the effect of factors such as the number of adults at home, having an older sibling, having a car or garden at home and living near to a park on the propensity to be allowed out alone. Then it considers how being allowed out alone affects the amount of time children spend outdoors, playing with friends and watching television. The paper then uses data from children who have been fitted with physical activity monitors and GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) monitors and asked to keep diaries, to show how children’s travel behaviour differs when they are with adults from when they are not. (2007)

A-Z Listing

  • A Children’s Environment and Health Strategy for the UK – Health Protection Agency
  • Acorns and Conkers – Play Scotland
  • Adults’ attitudes towards contact with children and young people – SCCYP
  • An overview of child well-being in rich countriesA comprehensive UNICEF assessment of the lives and the well-being of children and adolescents in the economically advanced nations.
  • Benefits of Play and Playwork – SkillsActive & CYWU
  • Better Play Programme 2000-2005 – An Evalution
  • Byron Review: Safer Children in a Digital World
  • Can PLAY Diminish ADHD and Facilitate the Construction of the Social Brain? by J Panksepp
  • Child and Adolescent Health ResearchWebsite dedicated to improving understanding of child and adolescent health in Scotland.
  • Children in the OutdoorsA literature review by Dr Sarah-Anne Munoz, Sustainable Research CentreThis review examins existing research on health and the outdoors. Children have been identified as one of the key social groups that could gain health benefits from the outdoors. (2009)
  • Childhood and Nature: A survey on changing relationships with nature across the generations.– Nature England March 2009Research undertaken by Natural England to explore the difference in contact with nature between today’s generation of children compared with the contact their parents generations had.
  • Crisis in the Kindergarten – Why Children Need to Play in School– Alliance in ChildhoodThe importance of play to young child’s development and learning has been documented beyond question in this research. (2009)
  • Developing Play in Scotland Survey – Play Scotland
  • Developing a local index of child well-being (Research)Research from the University of York, which put child well-being in the UK, 24th place in Europe.For a copy of the press release click here
  • Forest School in England and Wales
    Forest school is a unique educational experience using the outdoor environment of the forest as a classroom. Forest Schools are becoming widespread in England and Wales.An evaluation of two Forest School projects by the New Economics Foundationhighlighted how they can increase young people’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Forest School provides opportunities for learning particularly for those who do not do as well in the school classroom.The New Economics Foundation also produced a self -appraisal methodology so that Forest School leaders and teachers can evaluate other Forest Schools.
  • Food for the Brain
    Major New Initiative to Promote the Link between Children’s Nutrition and Mental Health
  • “Get a Life” – Risk Management – Health & Safety Commission
    The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) today urged people to focus on real risks – those that cause real harm and suffering – and stop concentrating effort on trivial risks and petty health and safety. To help take this forward the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) today launched a set of key principles: practical actions that we believe sensible risk management should, and should not, be about. (2006)
  • Get Scotland Moving – BMA
    Key points from this research: One in four scots are dying from diseases related in inactivity; currently only half of 7 to 11 years olds are engaging in the recommended 60 mins of vigorous physical activity each day; the number of children travelling to school by car has doubled over the last 20 years.
  • Growing Up in Scotland
    GUS is an exciting new study that follows the lives of a national sample of Scotland’s children from infancy through to their teens. This is one of the largest longitudinal studies ever done in Scotland and will provide information that will help develop policies affecting children and their families in Scotland.
  • Health behaviour in School-Aged Children from World Health Organisation
    This presents the key findings on patterns of health among young people aged 11, 13 and 15 years in 41 countries and regions across the WHO European Region and North America in 2005/2006. Its theme is health inequalities: quantifying the gender, age, geographic and socioeconomic dimensions of health differentials. Its aim is to highlight where these inequalities exist, to inform and influence policy and practice and to help improve health for all young people.
  • Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds – Physical Acitivity and Mental Health in Children and Young People
    The role of physical activity in promoting mental wellbeing and preventing mental health problems in children and young people. Issued April 2009
  • Healthly Lifestyle by Nutrition Adolesence (HELENA)(Scroll to National Publications Section)
  • IDEFICS: a multicenter European project on diet- and lifestyle-related disorders in children
    The environment of children has drastically changed in Europe during the last decades as reflected in unhealthy dietary habits and a sedentary lifestyle. Nutrition obviously plays a part in the development of overweight and obesity in childhood. However, dietary factors and physical activity are also involved in the development of metabolic syndrome. (2007)
  • IDEFICS: Understanding and preventing childhood obesity and related disorders
    The environment of children has drastically changed in Europe during the last decades as reflected in unhealthy dietary habits and sedentary lifestyle.
  • IJICSP: Trends in fall injuries associated with children’s outdoor climbing frames
    Falls from publicly owned climbing equipment are often cited as the majorcause of injury on children’s outdoor playgrounds and have been the focus of substantial interventions in the UK since the early 1980s.
  • Inclusion of disabled children in primary school playgrounds
    An exploration of how disabled children get involved in playtimes in mainstream schools, and what helps and hinders them in doing so. With disabled children increasingly integrated into mainstream schools, much attention has been paid to their educational needs and their physical needs in and around school buildings. There has been little work on their experiences in the playground, however.This research reveals some of the ways in which disabled children are included in the wealth of play activities in primary school playgrounds. It identifies organisational, social and physical barriers to their inclusion. It suggests ways of overcoming these, examines examples of good practice and proposes ways of moving forward. (2006)
  • Local Authority Play Provision in Scotland – Play Scotland
    Play Scotland commissioned a Play Provision Questionnaire to gather baseline information on play in a local authority context.Play Scotland were keen to determine the level of support, policy and planning for play within the local authorities in the absence of a statutory duty for play. (2007)
  • Local Authority Play Provision in Scotland, Executive Summary – Play Scotland (2007)
  • Let’s Play Together – Barnardo’s
    Inclusive play stresses the importance of including all children, disabled children as well as non-disabled children, by fostering an environment where diversity is respected and valued. At its best inclusion enables all children – of all abilities, ethnic backgrounds and other differences – to play together. (2005)
  • National Scientific Council on the Developing ChildNeighbourhood identity: effects of time, location and social class – Joseph Rowntree Foundation
    A study of how neighbourhood identity is formed and the implications this may have for area renewal policies.The study examines three neighbourhoods in Stirling, Scotland, and explores what it means to people to ‘come from’ each of these areas as a way of understanding issues of belonging and attachment to particular places. (2008)
  • Neighbourhood Play and Community Action – Joseph Rowntree Foundation
    Lessons from the experience of five community groups developing local play areas.This project developed a practical and comprehensive set of resources (a ‘toolkit’) for improving public neighbourhood play spaces and services for children and young people. The pilot process also aimed to develop each community’s own abilities and experience in planning and implementing such schemes. (2006)
  • Neighbourhood Play and Community Action (Report) – Joseph Rowntree Foundation
    This report descibes the experience of five community groups who were supported in the development of local play areas. (2006)
  • Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills – Alix Speigel (This report also can be heard in audio). (2008)
  • Outdoor Environment Key to Tackling Obesity and Mental Ill Health – Sustainable Development Commission
    The way we plan and use our towns and cities has a critical impact on the health of communities, and could be key to tackling some of Britain’s health problems, according to the Sustainable Development Commission.Although life expectancy in the UK is on the increase, healthy life expectancy is rising more slowly, with mental ill health, obesity, diabetes and other chronic illnesses an increasing problem. A growing body of evidence suggests that access to green space, a clean and safe environment, and easily accessible services and amenities – from shops and health services to public transport and work – can all have an effect on preventing and alleviating these conditions. (2008)
  • Outside Children & Young People Views on Public Space – Chester City Council Research
    This research highlights how children and young people use outdoor public space and what barriers prevent them from going to particular places or facilities. (2005)
  • Parenting behaviours and children’s development from infancy to early childhood (April 2007)
    Using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALPSAC), they examined how children develop, how parenting behaviours change as children mature from infancy to early childhood, and the relationships between paretning behaviours and children’s development. (2007)
  • Park Life – Greenspace June 2007
    First ever public satisfaction survey of Britain’s parks and green spaces. (2007)
  • Physical Activity and Inequalities – Health Living
    This briefing paper looks at the evidence base and discusses physical activity and inequalities. Includes practical examples and case study. (2009)
  • Planning for Play – Play England
    Guidance on the development and implementation of a local play strategy. (2006)
  • Play in the over 60s – Rospa
    How increased physical activity can help the over 60s and includes a study from the University of Lapland on how after using play equipment for three months over 60s health improved.
  • Playday 2007 Research – Our streets too!
    Word on the Street
    Street Play – A literature Review
    Attitudes Towards Street Play (ICM)
  • Playday 2006 Research – Play, Naturally
  • Playday 2005 Research – Fit for Play?
  • Play Scotland – Active Outdoor Play Report
    Evaluation report of PlayBoard Northern Ireland ‘Out 2 Play’ Training Package for Play Scotland. (2005)
  • Physical Activity and Adolescent Girls
    This is a summary of a research study undertaken for NHS Health Scotland to examine the current and emerging needs of the workforce involved in promoting physical activity to adolescent girls. November 2008
  • Physical Activity and the Environment – Nice
    This guidance offers the first national, evidence-based recommendations on how to improve the physical environment to encourage physical activity. It demonstrates the importance of such improvements and the need to evaluate how they impact on the public’s health. (2008)
  • Physical Activity, Young People and the Physical Environment – Irish Heart Foundation, National Heart AllianceThe National Heart Alliance is a independent non-governmental organision, which aims to increase co-operation among organisations involved in the fight against heart disease.Points from the Executive Summary include: regular physical activity benefits young people’s health and well-being; one in every five young people are overweight or obese; youths use poorly connected streets for play and physical activity; parental concerns regarding traffic volume and speed restrict children’s walking, cycling and play; young people are more active when they have convenient, good quality, affordable facilities for physical activity and play. (2006)
  • Poverty and Obesity – MRC Human Nutrition Research
    Many health disparities in the United States are linked to inequalities in education and income. This review focuses on the relation between obesity and diet quality, dietary energy density, and energy costs. Evidence is provided to support the following points. (2004)
  • Promoting physical activity for children and young people – NICE Promoting physical activity, active play and sport for pre-school and school-age children and young people in family, pre-school, school and community settings. (2009)
  • Reggio Project – Studio UK
    The research approach into play+ soft. Rsearch into children’s environments and learning styles calls for a closer collaboration between designers and pedagogy, so that these environments can respond to children and and the furnishings themselves can become tools for learning and exploration.
  • Scottish response from the Play Scotland Consultation Day to the UK Play Review (2003)
  • Setting children free: children’s independent movement in the local environment – UCL
    Parental concerns about children’s safety and security are restricting children’s independent exploration of the local environment. Children are being denied important opportunities to exercise, to acquire decision-making skills, such as crossing the road safely, and to develop social skills through interaction with their peers. This paper presents findings from the project CAPABLE (Children’s Activities, Perceptions And Behaviour in the Local Environment) being carried out at University College London. Based on findings from fieldwork carried out with children aged 8-11 in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, the paper shows the effect of factors such as the number of adults at home, having an older sibling, having a car or garden at home and living near to a park on the propensity to be allowed out alone. Then it considers how being allowed out alone affects the amount of time children spend outdoors, playing with friends and watching television. The paper then uses data from children who have been fitted with physical activity monitors and GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) monitors and asked to keep diaries, to show how children’s travel behaviour differs when they are with adults from when they are not. (2007)
  • Scottish Health Survey 2003 – Scottish Executive
  • Scottish Lifestyle Organised Sports and Health – University of Aberdeen
    The aim of the present study is to recruit and follow cohorts of children through primary school, monitoring their behaviour and to measure markers of their health throughout this time. The key lifestyle variables that we are interested in relate to physical activity and inactivity – these include things such as walking to school, TV viewing, playing computergames etc and particularly participation in organised sports (both in and outside the school). We will also make some measurements of diet, but this is a secondary factor in our study. Lifestyle variables (activity and diet) will be monitored by questionnaires distributed to the children and to their parents. (2006)
  • Scottish Play Commission – Play Scotland
    In October 2007 Play Scotland received lottery funding to establish the Scottish Play Commission. This was to examine the ‘state of play’ in Scotland. In June 2008 Play Scotland launched the Findings of the Scottish Play Commission at the Scottish Parliament. (2008)
  • Scottish Young Peoples Response to the UK Play Review
    Play Scotland research held at Pollock Halls in Edinburgh, 2003.
  • Supporting Looked After Children and Young People at School: A Scottish Case Study– Scottish GovernmentThis piece of research examined the arrangements for supporting looked after children in schools, including the transfer of information between social work and education, and the role of the designated senior manager with responsibility for looked after children. (2008)
  • Television and language development in the early years: a review of the literature – NLT
    This literature review investigates the relationship between television and language development in children from birth to age five. (2004)
  • The Business of Children’s Play: Spaces of Empowerment? Of Control? Of Social Exclusion?
    In recent years, private sector provision of young children’s leisure space has grown rapidly. Recent developments include restaurants adding-on children’s play areas (e.g. Whitbread’s Brewer’s Fayre, Allied Domeq’s Wacky Warehouse), retail outlets creating play zones within their stores (e.g. Kid’s HQ at Lewis’s), the growth of unipurpose indoor adventure playgrounds (e.g. Alphabet Zoo), the opening of theme parks specifically for young children (e.g. Gulliver’s parks) and the establishment of Family Leisure Centres with designated children’s play areas (e.g. First Leisure). The scale and context of provision for children has been transformed. These developments have also altered the geography of childhood and children’s spaces. Thus, spaces for children are being created in the central cores of urban areas and other previously ‘adult’ domains. The business of children’s play is becoming an integral part of central business districts throughout urban Britain and beyond as motorway service stations and theme parks in the countryside attend to the perceived leisure needs of young children. (1998)
  • The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children
    This international report from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) World Health Organization collaborative cross-national study is the most comprehensive to date. It presents the key findings on patterns of health among young people in 41 countries and regions across Europe and North America. The document presents a status report on health, health-related behaviour and the social contexts of young people’s health in 2005/2006 and provides the latest evidence from a unique cross-national study on the well-being of young people in industrialized nations. It is the fourth in a series of international reports from the HBSC study published by the WHO Regional Office for Europe in the “Health policy for children and adolescents” (HEPCA) series. In addition to presenting key statistics on young people’s health, this report has a special focus on health inequalities. It presents data on gender, age and geographic and socioeconomic dimensions of health differentials. The aim of the report is to highlight where inequalities exist in aspects of young people’s health and well-being in order to inform and influence policy and practice and to contribute to health improvement for all young people.
  • The Health Implications of Sedentary Behaviour
    This briefing paper looks at the evidence base and discusses the health implications of sedentary behviour. Includes practical examples and case study.
  • The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds – American Academy of Pediatrics
    Play is essential to development as it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional wellbeing of children and youth. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children. Despite the benefits derived from play for both children and parents, time for free play has been markedly reduced for some children. This report addresses a variety of factors that have reduced play, including a hurried lifestyle, changes in family structure, and increased attention to academics and enrichment activities at the expense of recess or free child-centered play. This report offers guidelines on how pediatricians can advocate for children by helping families, school systems, and communities consider how best to ensure play is protected as they seek the balance in children’s lives to create the optimal developmental milieu. (2006)
  • Time for Playful Learning – LegoLearning
    A cross-cultural study of parental values and attitude’s toward children’s time for play. (2002)