Taking it Outside: Engaging in Active, Creative, Outdoor Play with Digital Technology

Monica McGlynn-Stewart, Nicola Maguire, Emma Mogyorodi


This 3-year study followed 14 kindergarten classrooms in Ontario as they used open-ended tablet applications to support outdoor play and learning. Through the creation of slideshows that incorporated their photos, video, drawings, and audio recordings, the children explored their physical and creative activities outdoors, as well as their connections to nature. The educators were initially cautious about safety and solitary and sedentary use of the tablets. However, findings illustrated that children used the tablets safely, both individually and collaboratively, in conjunction with outdoor pursuits such as climbing and dramatic play. Rather than undermining the active, social, and nature-focused value of outdoor play, the use of open-ended apps enhanced these aspects by allowing children to attend to, document, and review their outdoor interests and activities.

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