Outdoor Play

Organizations

Play Outside NS was developed through the PLEY (Physical Literacy and the Early Years) Project. It focuses on the promotion of physical literacy and the development of fundamental movement skills through sharing our research through events and online resources.

Outdoor Play Canada is a network of advocates, practitioners, researchers and organizations working together to promote, protect, and preserve access to play in nature and the outdoors for all people living in Canada. Outdoor Play Canada provides leadership to galvanize the outdoor play movement across Canada to promote the health and wellness of Canadians and the environments in which we live. Their website contains an extensive list of resources to support outdoor play.

Playocracy.inc is an Ontario-based organization that works with schools across Canada to create a quality recess experience. They can support policy development, leadership training, and offer stencils, equipment, and other tools and resources to support play-filled recesses.

Recess Project is an organization focused on promoting engagement, inclusion, positive interactions, and physically active play during recess. Their website has many great tools, templates, and resources to help you enhance the recess experience at your school.

Programs

PALS stands for Playground Activity Leaders in Schools. This peer-led program was created by the Region of Peel Public Health Department in 2003. It is a peer-led playground leadership program that involves training students in Gr. 4-6 to lead structured activities during recess breaks for younger students.

Tools and Resources

Outlines the benefits to active outdoor play, summarizes the evidence, and makes clear recommendations for educators and school administrators.

This toolkit developed by the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) provides evidence-based tools and resources to inform decision-making and reduce concerns in order to increase access to unstructured play in school and municipal settings.

An evidence-based infographic that shows the benefits of unstructured play.

A one-pager on the physical and social benefits of school recess.

Five main findings on unstructured play and mental health.

This comprehensive guide shares tips, templates, and information needed to enhance recess and make it a healthy, inclusive, positive experience for all.

Did you know ...?

“When children are outside, they move more, sit less, and play longer – behaviors associated with improved cholesterol levels, blood pressure, body composition, bone density, cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness and aspects of mental, social, and environmental health.” (Sources of evidence included in Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play, p. 1)

Research also suggests a strong link between unstructured play and mental health. Unstructured play is linked to increased positive feelings, improved concentration, increased resilience, improved mood/behavior regulation, and improved social skills, including problem-solving, cooperation, and empathy (CPHA Unstructured Play Toolkit)