This new publication about children and outdoor play and exposure to nature is highly recommended as a great resource.
Author Geoffrey Godbey (2009). “Outdoor Recreation, Health, and Wellness: Understanding and Enhancing the Relationship”. Washington DC: Resources for the Future. Being outdoors is important to our health
Godbey takes an in-depth look at the health benefits of outdoor play, including the role outdoor play activities have in stress reduction. In addition he examines outdoor recreation as it pertains to current children’s health issues, including obesity and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and as to how spending time outdoors benefits children with these particular health challenges. Godbey shares his research into children’s connection with nature and how many variables impact children’s outdoor play.
These findings do encourage the justification for having access to outdoor playsets.
He discusses various approaches to quantify their physical activity and participation in outdoor recreation (or organized sports), as well as current trends in park visitation and outdoor activity participation. He highlights numerous factors that impact participation in outdoor activities, including amount of leisure time, proximity to outdoor space, safety of parks, and park and playground design.
Throughout this useful resource book, Godbey spot lights specific research gaps that could help future efforts. He discusses changing demographics as they pertain to outdoor recreation and what these changes might mean in terms of successful policymaking.
Author Affiliation: Geoffrey Godbey is with Resources for the Future.