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Marty K. Baker, Jeffrey A. Graham, Allison Smith and Zachary T. Smith

The purpose of this Coaching In paper is to share the training guidelines directed toward youth sport participants that have been created by national football federations in various countries around the world. The specific goal of the review is to examine how elements of sport-specific free play

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Alise E. Ott, Russell R. Pate, Stewart G. Trost, Dianne S. Ward and Ruth Saunders

In order to effectively measure the physical activity of children, objective monitoring devices must be able to quantify the intermittent and nonlinear movement of free play. The purpose of this study was to investigate the validity of the Computer Science and Applications (CSA) uniaxial accelerometer and the TriTrac-R3D triaxial accelerometer with respect to their ability to measure 8 “free-play” activities of different intensity. The activities ranged from light to very vigorous in intensity and included activities such as throwing and catching, hopscotch, and basketball. Twenty-eight children, ages 9 to 11, wore a CSA and a heart rate monitor while performing the activities. Sixteen children also wore a Tritrac. Counts from the CSA, Tritrac, and heart rates corresponding to the last 3 min of the 5 min spent at each activity were averaged and used in correlation analyses. Across all 8 activities, Tritrac counts were significantly correlated with predicted MET level (r = 0.69) and heart rate (r = 0.73). Correlations between CSA output, predicted MET level (0.43), and heart rate (0.64) were also significant but were lower than those observed for the Tritrac. These data indicate that accelerometers are an appropriate methodology for measuring children’s free-play physical activities.

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Kelly A. Mackintosh, Kate Ridley, Gareth Stratton and Nicola D. Ridgers

Objective:

This study sought to ascertain the energy expenditure (EE) associated with different sedentary and physically active free-play activities in primary school-aged children.

Methods:

Twenty-eight children (13 boys; 11.4 ± 0.3 years; 1.45 ± 0.09 m; 20.0 ± 4.7 kg·m-2) from 1 primary school in Northwest England engaged in 6 activities representative of children’s play for 10 minutes (drawing, watching a DVD, playground games and free-choice) and 5 minutes (self-paced walking and jogging), with 5 minutes rest between each activity. Gas exchange variables were measured throughout. Resting energy expenditure was measured during 15 minutes of supine rest.

Results:

Child (Schofield-predicted) MET values for watching a DVD, self-paced jogging and playing reaction ball were significantly higher for girls (P < .05).

Conclusions:

Utilizing a field-based protocol to examine children’s free-living behaviors, these data contribute to the scarcity of information concerning children’s EE during play to update the Compendium of Energy Expenditures for Youth.

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Jessica L. Chandler, Keith Brazendale, Clemens Drenowatz, Justin B. Moore, Xuemei Sui, Robert G. Weaver and Michael W. Beets

—organized games (ie, adult led) and unstructured play (ie, free play). 5 , 6 Interventions have largely focused on incorporating adult-led games to increase children’s PA either by increasing the skills of adults to remove inactive elements from traditionally played games and/or by the adoption of PA curricula

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John Cairney, Divya Joshi, Matthew Kwan, John Hay and Brent Faught

This study examines the associations among socioeconomic status (SES), aging, gender and sport and physical activity participation from late childhood into adolescence. Drawing from previous research, we test three hypotheses regarding the impact of aging on SES and sport participation using longitudinal data. The data come from a prospective cohort study of children, all of whom were enrolled in grade 4 (at baseline) in the public school system of a large region of southern Ontario, Canada. We examine two outcome measures: participation in organized sport and physical activity and active free play. Our results show different effects of neighborhood household income, aging and gender for each outcome. For organized sport participation, neighborhood household income effects are constant over time for both boys and girls. For active free play however, neighborhood household income differences widen (or diverge) over time for girls, but not for boys. We discuss the implications of these findings for future research and policy considerations.

Cette étude examine les associations entre statut socioéconomique, âge, genre et participation en sport et en activité physique de la fin de l’enfance à l’adolescence. Nous nous appuyons sur les recherches antérieures et des données longitudinales pour tester trois hypothèses à propos de l’impact de l’âge sur le statut socioéconomique et la participation en sport. Les données proviennent d’une étude de cohorte prospective d’enfants, tous étant inscrits en 4ème année (au début de l’étude) dans le système scolaire public d’une grande région du sud de l’Ontario au Canada. Nous mesurons deux types de résultats : la participation en sport organisé et activité physique et le jeu libre actif. Nos résultats montrent différents effets du revenu du ménage du quartier, de l’âge et du genre pour chaque résultat. Pour la participation en sport organisé, les effets du revenu du ménage du quartier sont constants avec le temps à la fois pour les garçons et les filles. Pour le jeu libre actif en revanche, les différences dans le revenu du ménage augmentent (ou divergent) avec le temps pour les filles, mais pas pour les garçons. Nous discutons les implications de ces résultats pour les études et politiques futures.

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Michaela A. Schenkelberg, Richard R. Rosenkranz, George A. Milliken and David A. Dzewaltowski

Background:

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) may be at greater risk for not meeting physical activity (PA) guidelines than neurotypical children (NT). The purpose of this study was to explore setting (free play versus organized) and social group composition influences on PA of children with ASD during summer camp.

Methods:

Data were collected on 6 ASD and 6 NT boys (aged 5 to 6 years) attending an inclusive summer camp. During free play and organized activity, research assistants observed the camp’s social environment and children’s PA using a modified version of the Observational System for Recording Physical Activity of Children—Preschool version.

Results:

In free play, children with ASD spent significantly less time in Moderate-Vigorous PA (MVPA) while with a peer (1.2%), compared with a peer group (11.5%) or alone (13.2%). They demonstrated significantly more Light-Moderate-Vigorous PA (LMVPA) while in a solitary social context (68.2%) compared with alone with an adult (25.8%), alone with a peer (34.8%), or with a peer group (28.2%). No significant differences were noted during organized activity.

Conclusion:

Features of the social environment may influence PA levels of children with ASD. Specifically, certain social group contexts may be more PA-promoting than others depending on the setting.

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Cheryl A. Howe, Kimberly A. Clevenger, Danielle McElhiney, Camille Mihalic and Moira A. Ragan

than boys, but boys participated in more PA than girls. This dissimilarity between previous research and our findings could be due to the environment in which the PA was measured—our study was laboratory based, or pseudo-free-play, whereas other studies have assessed PA in natural, free

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Thomas A. Farley, Rebecca A. Meriwether, Erin T. Baker, Janet C. Rice and Larry S. Webber

Background:

Promotion of physical activity in children depends on an understanding of how children use play equipment.

Methods:

We conducted observations over 2 years of children in 2nd through 8th grades in a schoolyard with 5 distinct play areas with different amounts of play equipment.

Results:

Children were more likely to play in areas with more installed play equipment, with densities of children in equipped areas 3.3 to 12.6 times higher than in an open grassy field. There were no significant differences by play area in the percent of children who were physically active at all, but children were more likely to be very active in areas with basketball goals and an installed play structure than in an open field.

Conclusions:

Playground equipment appeared to have a strong influence on where children played and a moderate influence on levels of activity. To maximize physical activity in children, playgrounds should be designed with ample and diverse play equipment.

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Judith Jiménez-Díaz, Karla Chaves-Castro and Walter Salazar

, 6 Moreover, low levels of MC have been reported in children, adolescents, and adults. 7 – 9 Given the former, it is important to identify which type(s) of movement program(s), that is, motor interventions, free play, regular physical education (PE) classes, improve MC across all age groups

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Ali Brian, Adam Pennell, Ryan Sacko and Michaela Schenkelburg

, preschool teachers may only provide high child-autonomy, free-play opportunities and not offer any teacher-led PE/PA activities that are structured, compulsory, and evidence-based, as they do not feel confident doing so. Such methods may not support the development of MC or PA participation in preschool