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System for Observing Outdoor Play (SOOP)

The System for Observing Outdoor Play (SOOP) was developed by the Sydney Playground Project team to examine activities that occur in different areas of the playground.  We used the SOOP to quantify different types of play and physical activity levels that occurred during our intervention.  There are times when it may be useful for schools seeking to examine how the playground is used.  For example, use of the SOOP may help identify areas that are less conducive to outdoor play and physical activity.  The information would help with evaluations of current playground use before expensive changes occur.  Results are often surprising.  Areas that are seem tired and unappealing to adults are often spaces that promote children's active play.  The results can be easily graphed and presented for discussions with children as evidence that can be used in the decision making process.  SOOP is also a useful tool for documenting changes that occur in play and physical activity when changes have occurred in the playground.  Schools can use SOOP as an objective measure when reporting to funding bodies on outcomes of changes in the playground as well as providing easy to interpret data for the school community.  Of course, we hope schools will use the SOOP to document changes that occur when a collection of loose materials is included on the playground!! 

Our procedures manual is available from:  








Please also refer to our article:

Engelen, L., Wyver, S., Perry, G., Bundy, A., Chan, T. K. Y., Ragen, J., Bauman, A., & Naughton, G. (published online 2017). Spying on children during a school playground intervention using a novel method for direct observation of activities during outdoor play. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning.



               Procedures Manual (SOOP)

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