Outdoor Play Strategy

In 2013, the Lawson Foundation started rethinking how we could help shift kids’ behaviours toward healthier lifestyles. We decided to explore outdoor play as a lever to reverse the inactivity crisis and as an essential element to support healthy child development, the Foundation’s ultimate goal.

We started by co-funding three academic papers (risky play, outdoor time, active outdoor play) and supported the convening of a working group to develop the Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play under the leadership of Dr. Mark Tremblay. The Position Statement was released to resounding positive media attention in June 2015 by ParticipACTION via the Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. This was followed by our funding call to identify projects that collectively would help inform how communities can increase children’s opportunities for unstructured outdoor play.

For the next few years we will be working with organizations across Canada and ranging across physical activity, recreation, injury prevention, public health, early childhood education, environment, education, mental health, but all focused on children’s outdoor play. Collectively the projects will produce tools, resources and training to build practitioner and decision maker capacity to support outdoor play, test delivery models for community implementation, and use research and evaluation to measure the effectiveness of various approaches. We are using a cohort approach where the projects will convene periodically to network, share and learn together. We’ll be learning throughout this process, meeting new stakeholders, discovering more about what’s already underway across Canada and abroad, and engaging in a developmental evaluation to understand how the learning from the projects could collectively make a difference for Canadian kids.

Outdoor Play StrategyLearn more about our Outdoor Play Strategy (PDF)

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