Resource review: Outside Play

Resource review: Outside Play

My kids and I spend time outdoors hiking, biking, playing in creeks and lakes, and looking at bugs, animals, and plants. Along the way there’s often wonder, laughter, compromises, and fatigue but it’s all worth it.

A new online resource was released to help parents and caregivers gain the confidence to allow their kids to engage in more outdoor play. This tool was developed by the University of British Columbia, BC Children’s Hospital, and the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit. The collaborative project also involved consultation with a multi-disciplinary advisory group and national and international partners.

Outside Play

Online resource available at
Developed in Vancouver, B.C.
Price: free

The Outside Play source specifically characterizes the kind of play they are encouraging as “risky” and on the landing page of the website they talk about what risky play is and why it’s important. There is some debate about the word “risky” because some experts feel that what’s important is that kids feel like they are taking risks rather than actually being in danger. Both schools of thought promote outdoor play which is important no matter what you call it because it is vital to children’s development and well-being and prepares them for their future lives where risk is present.

I found that completing the resource’s personalized journey map was quick and easy to do. It was interesting for me to think about how I encourage or discourage my kids to play outside. I liked that the resource addressed common concerns for playing outside, provided statistics on kids’ activities, and allowed for reflection on my upbringing versus kids’ today.

At the end of the journey exercise, you can develop an intentional goal or action plan moving forward to help you make changes to encourage outdoor play for kids. The resource also includes helpful and informative Frequently Asked Questions.

Upon reflection, I think that this resource is good for showing one side of the issue of how kids benefit from outdoor play. It helps adults set goals and outlines steps to take to support children to get outdoors and engage in play.

I found it interesting that the resource doesn’t expand on why outside play isn’t happening and how society is enabling children to avoid playing outside. Perhaps it is a fear of liability or judgment from other parents. It would have been interesting to see how the project developers would have addressed these issues in the resource. Perhaps an area for further research or resource development is recommendations to parents to help overcome concerns for their children playing outside.

Outdoor play, a basic childhood need, is important to children’s health, development, and well-being as well as a key component to developing physical literacy. As a parent, caregiver, coach, or educator this resource helps you figure out how to promote play activities so that children can be active for life.

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