Low levels of after school-hours social interaction and physical activity of 5-7 year olds

Anita C. Bundy, Lina Engelen, Geraldine Naughton, Shirley Wyver*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    As part of a cluster randomized controlled trial (Bundy et al., 2017), the after school-hours activities of 5-7 year old children were recorded by parents and other adult carers on four consecutive weekdays between 3:30pm-7:00pm. Records of time use showed most time was spent indoors in activities involving low levels of physical activity. The most-frequently-recorded activity was screen time, accounting for approximately one quarter of all activities. Higher levels of physical activity were reported when children were outdoors (19.5% of time) and/or with peers (9.58%). If an adult was present, highest activity levels of children occurred when the child was with a teacher/carer (6.07%). Although concern is frequently raised about children spending too much time in organized activities, these structured forms of out-of-school choices accounted for only 8.09% of recordings. The results of the current study strengthen the evidence base, supporting the need to optimise out-ofschool times with more developmentally important social and physical contexts. We discuss ways in which context may support or inhibit opportunities physical activity in after school-hours activities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)79-92
    Number of pages14
    JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - May 2018


    • outdoor play
    • social interaction
    • physical activity
    • sedentary


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