This qualitative study used a narrative research design to explore how a parent plays a key role in their child’s level of outdoor play, and the factors they consider during their child's engagement in it. Research indicates that outdoor play is an essential part of a child’s life as it supports the development of socio-emotional, cognitive, and physical skills. However, research has also indicated that children are not spending enough time outdoors. In this study, five participants (parents of children between 2-12 years) shared their thoughts, experiences, and perspectives on the topic of outdoor play. The interviews consisted of eight open-ended questions, and ranged from 11-18 minutes in length. The findings suggested that parents often reflected on their own childhood and the amount of time they spent outside, stating that times have changed drastically since they were young. Findings also suggested that parents are unaware of the potential benefits that outdoor play has to offer. Many parents also acknowledged their fears and concerns regarding their child’s safety while outdoors. The themes which were represented in the data, and therefore help answer the overall research question, are (i) play then vs play now, (ii) fears surrounding outdoor play, and (iii) benefits. Implications for future research could include looking closely at the role that technology plays in the decline of outdoor play, as well as examining whether or not parents’ lack of knowledge surrounding the benefits of outdoor play translates to a child’s overall level of engagement in it
outdoor play, helicopter parenting, parents, children, childhood, parenting, play, safety, fear, neighbourhood, generational shift, early childhood, traffic, physical benefits, cognitive benefits, socio-emotional benefits
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies (FAHCS)
© Julia Robinson
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Robinson, Julia, "A Parent’s Role in Outdoor Play" (2020). Honours Bachelor of Early Childhood Leadership (HBECL) Capstone Research Posters. 7.