Children's active play: self-reported motivators, barriers and facilitators

Brockman, Rowan; Jago, Russell; Fox, Kenneth R.
January 2011
BMC Public Health;2011 Supplement 4, Vol. 11 Issue Suppl 4, p461
Academic Journal
Background: Physical activity has important benefits for children's physical health and mental wellbeing, but many children do not meet recommended levels. Research suggests that active play has the potential to make a valuable contribution to children's overall physical activity, whilst providing additional cognitive, social and emotional benefits. However, relatively little is known about the determinants of UK children's active play. Understanding these factors provides the critical first step in developing interventions to increase children's active play, and therefore overall physical activity. Methods: Eleven focus groups were conducted with 77, 10-11 year old children from four primary schools in Bristol, UK. Focus groups examined: (i) factors which motivate children to take part in active play; (ii) factors which limit children's active play and (iii) factors which facilitate children's active play. All focus groups were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using a thematic approach. Results: Children were motivated to engage in active play because they perceived it to be enjoyable, to prevent boredom, to have physical and mental health benefits and to provide freedom from adult control, rules and structure. However, children's active play was constrained by a number of factors, including rainy weather and fear of groups of teenagers in their play spaces. Some features of the physical environment facilitated children's active play, including the presence of green spaces and cul-de-sacs in the neighbourhood. Additionally, children's use of mobile phones when playing away from home was reported to help to alleviate parents' safety fears, and therefore assist children's active play. Conclusions: Children express a range of motivational and environmental factors that constrain and facilitate their active play. Consideration of these factors should improve effectiveness of interventions designed to increase active play.


Related Articles

  • Getting Your Minds in Shape. Murray, Lori // Parenting;Fall99 Special Issue, Vol. 13 Issue 7, p21 

    Focuses on the benefits of physical fitness to a child's brain development. Benefits of physical activity to a child's brain.

  • Beyond bushfires: community, resilience and recovery - a longitudinal mixed method study of the medium to long term impacts of bushfires on mental health and social connectedness. Gibbs, Lisa; Waters, Elizabeth; Bryant, Richard A.; Pattison, Philippa; Lusher, Dean; Harms, Louise; Richardson, John; MacDougall, Colin; Block, Karen; Snowdon, Elyse; Gallagher, Hugh Colin; Sinnott, Vikki; Ireton, Greg; Forbes, David // BMC Public Health;2013, Vol. 13 Issue 1, p1 

    Background Natural disasters represent an increasing threat both in terms of incidence and severity as a result of climate change. Although much is known about individual responses to disasters, much less is known about the social and contextual response and how this interacts with individual...

  • STUDENTU - SPORTISTU STUDIJU GRŪTĪBAS UN TO MAZINĀŠANAS IESPÄ’JAS RTU. Krieva, B. // Humanities & Social Science (1407-9291);2007, Vol. 8 Issue 12, p158 

    Nowadays, sport and physical development becomes an actual problem of sport pedagogy research. The stance, strength, deftness and speed of every child, adolescent and adult are the guarantee for a mental health. Therefore there is a need to support wish of students -- sportsmen to combine...

  • START 'EM YOUNG.  // Men's Health;Jul/Aug2006, Vol. 21 Issue 6, p57 

    The article deals with the importance of physical fitness to the mental state of teenagers. A research published in the journal Pediatrics found that those who played sports were less likely to participate in risky behaviors or have low self-esteem. Athletic children also had better grades.

  • SMARTER AND FASTER. Gibson, Donna // Woman's Day (Australia Edition);5/2/2005, Vol. 57 Issue 18, p83 

    Presents information on a study in the U.S., regarding the correlation between physical fitness and mental processing abilities of adults and children. Research on reaction times.

  • Get Off That Couch. Miller, Annetta // Newsweek;11/26/2001, Vol. 138 Issue 22, p78 

    Discusses ways to keep children active during school years. Schools cutting physical education and recess; Recommendation to emphasize physical activities as rewards and to give gifts that encourage activity; Link between physical and mental fitness.

  • One Province's Experience with Health Promoting Schools. Whitby, Caroline // Physical & Health Education Journal;2014, Vol. 79 Issue 4, p18 

    The article discusses findings from the province-wide project Children's Lifestyle and School- Performance Study II (CLASS II) which is part of a developing body of knowledge related to Health Promoting Schools (HPS) in Nova Scotia. It cites the project's examination of the links between health,...

  • Effects of Text Messaging on College Students' Perceptions of Personal Health. Hudson, Heather K.; Bliss, Kadi R.; Fetro, Joyce V. // Health Educator;Spring2012, Vol. 44 Issue 1, p28 

    Four focus groups of undergraduate students (n = 32) were conducted to elicit perceptions regarding how text messaging affects personal health. Participant responses were coded and themed into five health dimensions: physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual. Results of focus groups...

  • Teens test mobile experience.  // RCR Wireless News;6/19/2006, Vol. 25 Issue 25, p16 

    The article provides information on a focus group of 11 teenage wireless users created by Mobilitec Inc. which provides a platform for selling mobile content. Mobilitec gives the children monthly assignments and asks them to provide feedback and rate their experiences finding, downloading and...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics