Hvilken innvirkning har barnehagens fysiske utemiljø på barns lek og de ansattes pedagogiske praksis i uterommet.

Hagen, T.L.
Nordisk Barnehageforskning 10(5), 1-16.


The purpose of this study is to investigate how children use outdoor areas for play and how the play-environment design affects this play.


Overall, the author found that the oldest children quickly lost interest in the many playground installations of the outdoor area. This was partly because of the one-sided functionality of the installations, and partly because they had already explored and mastered the challenges in the installations. The oldest children preferred an unpredictable environment, in which they could manipulate and impact the environment to create their own play. Furthermore, the study indicates that the oldest children preferred play that involves creativity and takes place in the forest and on a hilltop at the ECEC centre. Finally, results show that the role of the staff in outdoor play was often one of being 'actively unobtrusive', i.e. they were observing, had a good overview and could step in quickly when necessary.


The author finds the following overall themes in the data material: (1) the children's use of playground installations, (2) the children's preferred activities and (3) the role of the staff in outdoor play. The study shows that the children used playground installations (e.g. climbing frames) in different ways. The oldest children were not very interested in the playground equipment. When they played with playground installations, it was often in connection with other play activities, or they used the installations in other ways than intended. For instance, the climbing frame was used for roleplaying (playing house). In contrast, the younger children used the climbing frame to climb on. Moreover, the study shows that the children's activities in the forest primarily involved 'climbing trees', 'playing house' and 'playing heroes'. The forest offered an abundance of components to play with, e.g. sticks. On the hilltop at the ECEC centre, the children also 'played heroes', and they slid down the slope during winter when there was snow. The hilltop also functioned as a hiding place, in which the children could play without adult supervision. In addition, the study shows that most of the children's outdoor activities were not organised by the adults, and that the staff encouraged free play. Moreover, the staff often observed the children's play, but rarely participated directly in it. Football was an exception; adult initiated and participated in this activity.


The study was conducted at an ECEC centre (barnehage) with 60 children. Three 5-year-olds were selected as informants as they were the oldest children and had most experience with the outdoor area of the centre. The first data collected consisted of observations of the three children. Each child was observed for one hour at four different occasions. The researcher recorded where the child was playing, what the child was playing and with whom the child was playing. Subsequently, each of the three children showed the researcher around and talked about how they used the outdoor area, and what they liked about the area. The data material also included interviews with the three children and one pedagogical leader (pedagogisk leder). Moreover, 12 children from the ECEC centre were observed while drawing what they liked most about playing in the outdoor area.


Hagen, T.L. (2015). Hvilken innvirkning har barnehagens fysiske utemiljø på barns lek og de ansattes pedagogiske praksis i uterommet. Nordisk Barnehageforskning 10(5), 1-16.

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