The design of children’s outdoor activities: sustainability and early learning experiences

Fiona Wood, Seaton Baxter, Fraser Bruce

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    There is little doubt that the objects and daily patterns of children’s play are changing, often to the detriment of outdoor activities. This occurs at a time when we need more understanding and appreciation of the natural world in order to live sustainably. It is now widely acknowledged that outdoor education contributes significantly to children’s physical and mental health as well as enabling them to develop as successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors to society whilst also enhancing environmental awareness (Scottish Executive, 2004).
    This research project is at the interface of children’s play, learning, nature and sustainability. It is one of a portfolio of design research projects (MPhil and PhD) being conducted by The Centre for the Study of Natural Design at the University of Dundee and Scottish Outdoor Education Centres (SOEC). This paper describes ‘a day in a life’ of children at one site operated by SOEC with a view to understanding the relationships and patterns of child’s play. Based on early findings, the authors reflect on what needs to be done next before moving towards designing and developing a range of outdoor learning activities. The paper concludes with a discussion on the choice of research methods which might prove useful in exploring these active situations in a more holistic manner
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eighth European Academy of Design International Conference
    PublisherRobert Gordon University
    Number of pages5
    ISBN (Print)9781901085976
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    Event8th European Academy of Design International Conference - The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
    Duration: 1 Apr 20093 Apr 2009


    Conference8th European Academy of Design International Conference
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


    • design
    • children
    • outdoor activities
    • sustainability
    • early learning


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