Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 281–287 | Cite as

Children’s Activity Levels in Different Playground Environments: An Observational Study in Four Canadian Preschools

  • Stephen Berg


Engaging in moderate to vigorous amounts of physical activity is needed for young children to grow and develop to their full potential and the playground environment can help play a role. The purpose of this study was to determine the physical activity levels of children in preschool settings during outdoor playground activity time. Four preschools in British Columbia, Canada were purposefully selected based around their playground design and structure. The System for Observing Play and Leisure Activity in Youth, Children’s Activity Rating Scale, and the Observation for Recording Physical Activity in Children—Preschool Version were used to determine the physical activity levels of children, to track the location of preschool children and to code the types of activities. A total of 2,268 observations were recorded across all four environments. Results found that children in approximately half of the observations were engaged in sedentary physical activity (51 %) while only participating in vigorous activity during 20 % of the observations. These findings support the need for educators to consider the role the environment plays in determining young children’s amounts of physical activity.


Preschools Playgrounds Physical activity Outdoors 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Education EME-3169University of British ColumbiaKelownaCanada

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