Educators Resource Hub

Browse a selection of research summarised by our team that feature local and global studies associated with childhood development, education, play behaviour and benefit of nature connection for health and wellbeing.

Sensory Tours as a Method for Engaging Children as Active Researchers: Exploring the Use of Wearable Cameras in Early Childhood Research

This article explores ‘Sensory Tours’ through the use of wearable cameras with children as a data collection source to engage young children as active researchers in recording their experiences in natural environments.

Young Children and Nature: outdoor play and development, experiences fostering environmental consciousness, and the implications on playground design

This thesis from Landscape Architect Ashley Parsons, explains why designers of children’s playscapes should recognise the importance of play, nature experiences and the benefits that outdoor play have on children’s health and development.

Risky-Play at School. Facilitating Risk Perception and Competence in Young Children.

This study demonstrated that risk perception and competence in young children can be improved with an intensive offer of risky play activities in their outdoor learning environments.

What is the Relationship between Risky Outdoor Play and Health in Children? A Systematic Review

This review examines the relationship between risk in outdoor play and children’s health, with the aim of informing debate around the benefits vs harm of this type of play.

Risky Play and Children’s Safety: Balancing Priorities for Optimal Child Development

This study explores the relationship between child development, free play, and perceptions of risk with the aim of supporting child injury prevention.

Landscapes for play: Effects of an intervention to promote nature-based risky play in early childhood centres

This study examined the effects of increased opportunities for nature play and risky play in the outdoor environments of two childcare centres.

Social contexts of development in natural outdoor environments: children’s motor activities, personal challenges and peer interactions at the river and the creek

This study looks at the influence of outdoor time on preschool aged children’s physical, social and emotional development.


This report from the National Wildlife Federation reveals how getting down and dirty in the great outdoors — far from being a bad thing — has many benefits.

The Overprotected Kid

Hanna Rosin’s excellent and in depth article looks at why a preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery, without actually making it any safer.

Children’s Experience of Place

This fascinating dissertation from well known researcher Roger Hart is almost 40 years old but is as relevant now as ever. It is a beautiful depiction of life not that long ago which seems worlds away from the indoor, screen dominated, car-oriented lives of children today.

Early Childhood Teachers’ Beliefs about Children’s Risky Play in Australia and Norway

Positive risk-taking in outdoor physical play is important for children’s optimal health and development. Early childhood practitioners were asked about the outdoor play experiences they provide for children and their attitude towards risk-taking in play.

Children’s Risky Play from an Evolutionary Perspective: The Anti-Phobic Effects of Thrilling Experiences

This article takes an evolutionary perspective of children’s risky play, looking at evolutionary functions and the anti-phobic effects of risky play.

Mothers’ beliefs about risk and risk-taking in children’s outdoor play

Through semi – structured interviews with mothers of four and five year old children, this study examines beliefs around children’s outdoor play opportunities and exposure to and management of potential risks in outdoor environments.

Nature and Embodied Education

This article explores the emerging multidisciplinary thought on the embodied mind and how it can provide new ways to understand the positive role of nature in children’s education.

Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy

Getting dirty in the garden can be even more beneficial for mental health than previously thought. Antidepressant microbes in soil may increase production of serotonin, a stress reducing hormone in humans.

Education Outside the Classroom in Aotearoa New Zealand – A Comprehensive National Study: Final Report

Education outside the Classroom (EOTC) has a long and rich history in Aotearoa New Zealand schools, contributing positively to the…