en cy
c
Outdoor and Active Play

Recommendation

There are currently no specific recommendations for the duration of time spent in active play or the amount of time being active outdoors. However, outdoor and active play contributes to overall physical activity. Age specific physical activity guidelines can be found under the ‘overall physical activity level’ indicator.

Definitions

Evidence suggests that children are more active when they are outside. Therefore, in the previous Report Card (2014), ‘use of the park’ was used solely to establish the grade for this indicator. For the 2016 Report Card, the Research Work Group used the proportion of children using a variety of places for play as the benchmark for grading this indicator, as well as, the percentage of children reported spending ≥ 3 hours outside playing.

Survey Data

A large nationally representative survey conducted by Sport Wales and a smaller but still nationwide survey on play conducted as part of the Little Voices Shouting out Report, were used by the Research Work Group to assign an outdoor and active play grade.

Percentage of children using these areas for play
Read More
  1. 1

    The School Sport Survey (2015) provides data on 115,398 children aged 7-16 years old from across Wales. Data on the proportion of children and youth using ‘streets near home or school' (43%), ‘park' (61%), ‘playground not at school' (38%), ‘playing fields at school' (48%), ‘playing fields not at school' (50%) and ‘beach/sea' (42%) for places of exercise/play in the previous year were synthesised to give an overall proportion of 47% of children and youth using at least one of these places (School Sport Survey 2015).

  2. 2

    The Little Voices Shouting Out survey of children aged 7-11 years from across Wales reported that 18% spent 3 hours, 15% 4 hours and 27% more than 4 hours playing outside on a normal day. Therefore, 60% of children reporting spending ≥3 hours outside playing.

Close
Deciding on a Grade

The grade for this indicator has not changed since 2014 although more data were available to support the 2016 grade. In the previous Report Card, ‘use of the park’ was used solely to establish the grade for this indicator. In the 2016 Report Card, the Research Work Group agreed that the proportion of children using a variety of places for play should be considered. Therefore, the use of streets near home or school, the park, playground not at school, playing fields at school, playing fields not at school and beach/sea for places of exercise/play were all taken into account during the grading process. The synthesised data of all of these places gave an overall proportion of 47% of children and youth using at least one of these places for exercise/play. This proportion falls within the C grade. The Research Work Group also concluded that 60% of children reporting spending ≥3 hours outside playing were commensurate with a C grade.

Considerations
  • School Sport Survey used self-report methods, although, a major strength of the School Sport Survey is its reach coverage, with the 2015 survey being the largest to date and the largest survey of its kind in the UK.
  • Although there is a lack of evidence on children of early years (under 5 years old), there is strong evidence on all ages of children and young people from 7 years old to 16 years old. This was not available in the previous Report Card.
  • The best available evidence shows that in terms of Outdoor and Active Play, Wales are only succeeding with about half of children and young people. Research suggests that given the opportunity, children get wide-ranging exercise as well as significant mental health benefits from freely chosen play. All children and young people need to play. Play is fundamental to the healthy development and well-being of individuals and communities, therefore encouragement towards getting children outdoors playing is a necessity.
How to Improve
  • Playing Out - link
  • Promoting Physical Activity through Outdoor Play (early years) - link
  • Free Range Kids Campaign - link
Data Sources
  • School Sport Survey 2015 - link
  • Little Voices Shouting Out Report 2015 - link
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