Adult Outdoor Play Preferences: Why Nature Space Design Matters


  • Dr. Deborah Rhea Texas Christian University
  • Dr. David Farbo Texas Christian University
  • Dr. Daryl Campbell-Pierre Texas Christian University



adults, play, outdoors, nature, recreation


Adults from many communities who value unstructured, outdoor play and want to play have limited resources to engage in play (Talarowski et al., 2019). Many parks and playgrounds today are designed with children in mind and do not offer many adult-friendly play options. The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine outdoor and indoor adult play preferences to establish a baseline for adult play or nature space design. The survey was distributed to male (N=61) and female (N=261) 18–80-year-old participants through email and posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and given a three-week window to complete. The participants were asked to pick their five top activity preferences. Overall, 33% of the participants preferred nature activities, 24% preferred playground equipment, 22% preferred sports, and 21% preferred large-yard games. The top preferences predominately came from nature activities and large-yard games. Responses from write in questions showed this group of participants preferred being outdoors (84%), active (85%), and socially driven (97%). More opportunities that match these specific preferred activities must be considered so that adults can take full advantage of the benefits play can provide.


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Author Biographies

Dr. Deborah Rhea, Texas Christian University

Deborah J Rhea, Ed.D. is professor of Kinesiology and founding director of The LiiNK Project at Texas Christian University

Dr. David Farbo, Texas Christian University

Dr. David Farbo is a research analyst for Cook Children's Hospital.

Dr. Daryl Campbell-Pierre, Texas Christian University

Daryl Campbell-Pierre graduated from Texas Christian University in 2023 with his PhD in Health Sciences from Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences. He has recently taken a position at Medpace in Dallas, Texas as a researcher.




How to Cite

Rhea, D., Farbo, D., & Campbell-Pierre, D. (2023). Adult Outdoor Play Preferences: Why Nature Space Design Matters. Journal of Kinesiology & Wellness, 12(1), 20–29.