About the project

Background
A number of studies document the value of activities in nature and nature experiences related to health, as well as related to the developing of motor skills, social competences and identity. Compared to earlier times, more adult Danes are active in the outdoors whereas nature and outdoor places have lost their importance as social meeting places for children and young people during their leisure time.
New studies indicate that the physical environment is important according to participation in sports and outdoor activities and that it is possible to experience nature also in built and more urban environments. Existing knowledge related to children`s on this matter is however limited.

Aim
The aim of the project is to produce knowledge about children in relation to nature and active outdoor life and to test methods to inspire children to develop a healthy and active lifestyle in the outdoors. The project will be important to planning and developing facilities and natural environments, as well as to organisational and educational initiatives intending to improve children`s active outdoor life.
Theoretically the project is based on the socio-ecological framework and relates to research in Active Living with an interdisciplinary scientific approach. The focus in the project is on children (10 – 14 year old) and their relation to nature, landscape and special places, including practical intervention.

Design
The project consists of two parts: A) a research project and B) an intervention project.
The first part of the project investigates and discusses the following research questions:
1) How and to what extent are children in Denmark active in nature during their leisure time and what kind of constraints for activity can be identified? 2) Why are children active in nature, and what is the importance of outdoor life and nature experiences to them? 3) How does the physical environment affect children`s active outdoor life? 4) How is it possible to develop and improve children`s active outdoor life, e.g. using structural changes in the physical environment?
Based on results from the research study, six intervention projects are selected for implementation. The intervention can deal with developing places and facilities, which inspires children and young people to be active in nature, as well as with activating places and existing environments through educational or organisational innovations. The projects will be documented using scientific evaluation.

Communication and time schedule
Results and information from the project will be shared and communicated using webpage, newsletters and social media. A number of scientific articles and a final report on the project will be published. Throughout the project period, there is a great focus on the involvement of user groups as well as on how results can be transformed into practice. This includes organising scientific innovative workshops, seminars and finally a conference.
The first part of the project starts autumn 2014 and will be finished during spring 2018. The second part will start autumn 2017 and will run till spring 2020.