Archive for Playgrounds

Play is more than fun – also for adults

A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults — and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age. Enjoy this amazing talk on video.

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Legal Tools to open school facilities after school hours

Many communities lack safe, adequate places for children and their families to exercise and play. Schools might have a variety of recreational facilities’”gymnasiums, playgrounds, fields, courts, tracks’”but many districts close their property to the public after school hours because of concerns about costs, vandalism, security, maintenance, and liability in the event of injury. Now city, county, and town governments can partner with school districts through what are known as joint use agreements to address these concerns. A formal agreement can set forth the terms and conditions for the shared use of public property. Find the legal tools here.

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Time spent playing outdoors after school and its relationship with level of independence

Many children spend too little time outdoors and too much time in front of the TV — and a lack of suitable outdoor spaces seems partly to blame, an Australian study suggests. The study, of nearly 1,400 10- to 12-year-olds, found that 37 percent typically spent a half-hour or less being active outside. Few were outdoors for two hours or more on a typical day.

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School opportunities and physical activity frequency in nine year old children

The association between PA frequency and school-level PA opportunity differs by sex and weight status. Overweight boys in particular may benefit from health promotion strategies providing greater opportunities for school PA. 1 267 students in 69 Canadian schools participated.

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Physical Activity May Strengthen Children’s Ability To Pay Attention

New research from University of Illinois suggests that physical activity may increase students’ cognitive control – or ability to pay attention – and also result in better performance on academic achievement tests. See also http://www.rwjf.org/childhoodobesity/digest.jsp?id=10129

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School Environments and Policies to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

This review show that schools have been making some progress in improving the school food and physical activity environments but that much more work is needed. Stronger policies are needed to provide healthier meals to students at schools; limit their access to low-nutrient, energy-dense foods during the school day; and increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of physical activity at school.

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Green school grounds for more PA

This paper explores how ‘green’ school grounds, which contain a greater diversity of landscaping and design features, affect the quantity and quality of physical activity among elementary school children. Of particular significance is the potential to encourage moderate and light levels of physical activity by increasing the range of enjoyable, non-competitive, open-ended forms of play at school. Seen in this light, green school grounds stand to be an important intervention to be included in school health promotion initiatives.

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Dance Dance Revolution – a dance video game

Researchers from Maine Medical Center Research Institute examined the feasibility of a dance video game, in participants’ homes, to increase physical activity and to decrease sedentary screen time. The pilot study suggests that the Dance Dance Revolution game reduces sedentary screen time and may facilitate slight increases in vigorous PA.

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Play Can Make You Healthy, Happy, and More Productive

Recess helps kids do better in school. These are some of the conclusions in a new book by Stuart Brown: Play has been scientifically proved to be good for the brain. Play teaches us to use our imaginations. Play helps us learn to be friends. Sometimes the best way to learn a complicated subject is to play with it. Kids do better academically when they have recess. Playing at work is not just useful; it’s essential.

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Effects of providing markings and play equipment in school playgrounds

This important study from Belgium is based on measurements from 583 pre-school children. Some schoold had play equipment and/or markings at the pre-school playground. Accelerometer-based physical activity levels during recess were collected. Providing playground markings or play equipment is not sufficient to increase activity levels and decrease levels of sedentary activity during pre-school recess. More activating supervision and the inclusion of more structured physical activity seem needed.

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