Children experience the world first through play. Let them experience the world.

Our lab, led by Dr. Mariana Brussoni, is dedicated to studying child injury prevention and children’s outdoor play.

We are based at The University of British Columbia and the UBC Children’s Hospital Research Institute.

Play is more than just fun and games.

Play is a basic childhood need. Through play, children learn societal roles, norms and values and develop physical and cognitive skills, creativity, self-worth, independence and competency.

Outdoor play – with the risks that come with it – can bring many developmental benefits for children. Outdoor risky play, such as independent exploration, rough-and-tumble play, climbing, chasing, building, and so on, can promote children’s social and physical development, emotional well-being, self-confidence, risk management and physical activity.

Children’s opportunities for outdoor play have gone down across generations. One of the reasons is that outdoor play is sometimes seen as being too dangerous or as less important than other activities that children might engage in.

Reversing this trend requires a societal shift.

Our research to date – focused on children’s outdoor risky play – has looked at: 

  • Effect of outdoor play on children
  • Influence of adults (parents, caregivers, educators, and others) on children’s play opportunities
  • Design of outdoor environments (play spaces, neighbourhoods) to support outdoor play
  • Policies to promote outdoor play

To learn more about our work, click here.