What motivates children to play outdoors? Potential applications for interactive digital tools

Bronwyn J. Cumbo, Brent C. Jacobs, Tuck W. Leong, Anne Marie Kanstrup

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Children (8-12 years) living in urban, western contexts are increasingly spending their free time indoors engaging in digital recreation, rather than outdoor, child-directed play. There is potential for place-specific, digital technology to be designed to motivate children 'off the couch' and outdoors into their local natural places. This paper presents the outcomes of three workshops conducted with eleven children (8-12 years) in Aalborg, Denmark, designed to understand key motivators for outdoor play in children. Children were divided into five design groups. Fictional inquiry and a series of artifacts and triggers were used to communicate the design task to children and inspire a range of relevant designs. Here, we report on the design outcomes of workshops, the motivators for outdoor play, and potential applications for interactive digital technology to inspire more regular, outdoor play experiences in children.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 26th Australian Computer-Human Interaction Conference on Designing Futures
Subtitle of host publicationthe Future of Design
EditorsToni Robertson, Kenton O'Hara, Lian Loke, Greg Wadley, Tuck Leong
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781450306539
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventAustralian Computer Human Interaction Conference 2014 - University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 2 Dec 20145 Dec 2014
Conference number: 26th
https://dl.acm.org/doi/proceedings/10.1145/2686612 (Proceedings)


ConferenceAustralian Computer Human Interaction Conference 2014
Abbreviated titleOZCHI 2014
Internet address


  • Children
  • Interactive digital technology
  • Motivation
  • Outdoor play
  • Participatory design

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