Physical Activity and Recreation

A national survey indicated that green elementary school grounds across Canada can play a significant role in promoting physical activity by increasing vigorous, moderate and light physical activity among students. A host of factors, such as fears for children’s safety outdoors, increased TV, Internet and gameplaying options, plus a sedentary culture, have contributed to a rise in childhood obesity and diabetes, and other ill-health effects due to lack of exercise.

School gardens are a wonderful outlet for children to carry out a variety of physical and recreational tasks and activities. The children in our gardens use their hands and bodies to dig, plant, pick, water, mulch and weed. They use trowels, shovels and other garden tools that allow them to further develop their dexterity and coordination. They are also able to run and jump around joyfully, explore and interact with plants, bugs and each other through formal and informal learning and imaginative play. School food gardens allow children to do multiple physical tasks, at varying levels, in the outdoors and fresh air; this is particularly important considering that we live in an urban setting with limited green space.

To read more about how gardens can promote physical activity please read the report Grounds For Action: Promoting Physical Activity through School Ground Greening in Canada on the Evergreen website.