Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2014

The role of greenery for physical activity play at school grounds

Mårtensson, Fredrika; Jansson, Märit; Johansson, Maria; Raustorp, Anders; Kylin, Maria; Boldemann, Cecilia


Greenery is assumed to promote physical activity at school grounds by facilitating open and flexible play situations that engage many children. The role of greenery for school ground activity was investigated at two schools, one of which contained a substantial amount of greenery and the other one little greenery. All in all 197 children from 4th (10-11 years) and 6th grade (12-13 years), were involved in a one week field study, documenting self-reported school ground use, their favourite places and favourite activities and counting their steps by pedometer. The most common school ground activities were related to the use of balls as part of different sports, games and other playful activity. The more extensive green areas belonged to children's favourite places, but were little used, whereas settings with a mix of green and built elements in proximity to buildings were well-used favourites. Physical activity in steps was similar at the two schools, but on average girls got less of the activity they need during recess. Greenery was found important by contributing to settings attractive to visit for girls as well as boys and for younger as well as older children, if located in ways that also supported peer interaction and various games.


Children's play; Health promotion; Landscape design; Physical activity; Schoolyard; Vegetation

Published in

Urban Forestry and Urban Greening
2014, Volume: 13, number: 1, pages: 103-113