Differently designed playgrounds and preschooler’s physical activity play
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New playground concepts – favouring natural play characteristics – emerge. The aim of our free play study is to explore the relation between newly established natural playgrounds and the widely spread contemporary ones in terms of physical activity levels. The playground features differ in vegetation, topography, size and play equipment. The children’s locomotive activity was measured with the StepWatch™ Activity Monitor – a pedometer. Research with known groups of preschool children on urban playgrounds should serve a future transfer of results to institutional play areas. Within this pilot study, results indicate that there is no significant difference in mean locomotive activity during free play on diverse playgrounds. However, results show high variability of activity between the playgrounds in terms of active children and rather sedentary ones. In conclusion, kindergarten environments should be more diverse incorporating elements of nature and contemporary playgrounds to serve all levels of activity.