Students’ Enjoyment of School Playground Activities



An emerging area of research is exploring the important link between enjoyment and student participation in activities. Enjoyment stems from kinaesthetic experiences, and the achievement of personal goals and is defined as ‘a positive affective response to an experience that reflects generalised feelings such as pleasure, liking, and fun’. It has been revealed that if a student enjoys participating in a particular activity (e.g. intrinsic motivation), this increases the likelihood of students wanting to continue to adopt and maintain participation in the activity. Enjoyment has been shown to mediate (mechanism of change) involvement and participation in a range of sport sand physical activities. A lack of effective strategies targeting students’ activity participation could be due to a lack of understanding of how enjoyment can influence students’ participation in school activities. The purpose of this chapter is to provide insight for researchers into students’ enjoyment of school playground activities and how enjoyment can vary within different contexts.


Playgrounds Enjoyment Motivation Physical activity 


  1. Boyd, M. P., & Yin, Z. (1996). Cognitive-affective sources of sport enjoyment in adolescent sport participants. Adolescence, 31(122), 383–395.Google Scholar
  2. Dishman, R. K., Motl, R. W., Saunders, R., Felton, G., Ward, D. S., Dowda, M., & Pate, R. R. (2005). Enjoyment mediates effects of a school-based physical-activity intervention. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 37(3), 478–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hyndman, B., & Chancellor, B. (2015). Engaging children in activities beyond the classroom walls: A social–ecological exploration of Australian primary school children’s enjoyment of school play activities. Journal of Playwork Practice, 2(2), 117–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hyndman, B. P., & Lester, L. (2015). The effect of an emerging school playground strategy to encourage children’s physical activity: The Accelerometer Intensities from Movable Playground and Lunchtime Activities in Youth (AIM-PLAY) study. Children, Youth and Environments, 25(3), 109–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hyndman, B., Telford, A., Finch, C., Ullah, S., & Benson, A. C. (2013). The development of the lunchtime enjoyment of activity and play questionnaire. Journal of School Health, 83(4), 256–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hyndman, B. P., Chancellor, B., & Lester, L. (2015). Exploring the seasonal influences on elementary schoolchildren’s enjoyment of physical activity during school breaks. Health Behavior and Policy Review, 2(3), 182–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hyndman, B., Benson, A., Lester, L., & Telford, A. (2016). Is there a relationship between primary school children’s enjoyment of recess physical activities and health-related quality of life? A cross-sectional exploratory study. Health Promotion Journal of Australia.
  8. King, G. A., Law, M., King, S., Hurley, P., Hanna, S., Kertoy, M., & Rosenbaum, P. (2007). Measuring children’s participation in recreation and leisure activities: Construct validation of the CAPE and PAC. Child: Care, Health and Development, 33(1), 28–39.Google Scholar
  9. Lawman, H. G., Wilson, D. K., Van Horn, M. L., Resnicow, K., & Kitzman-Ulrich, H. (2011). The relationship between psychosocial correlates and physical activity in underserved adolescent boys and girls in the ACT trial. Journal of Physical Activity & Health, 12(1), 116–129.Google Scholar
  10. McCarthy, P. J., Jones, M. V., & Clark-Carter, D. (2008). Understanding enjoyment in youth sport: A developmental perspective. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 9, 142–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Moore, J., Yin, Z., Duda, J., Gutin, B., & Barbeau, P. (2009). Measuring enjoyment of physical activity in children: Validation of the physical activity enjoyment scale. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 21(1), 116–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Motl, R. W., Dishman, R. K., Saunders, R., Dowda, M., Felton, G., & Pate, R. R. (2001). Measuring enjoyment of physical activity in adolescent girls. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 21(2), 110–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ntoumanis, N. (2002). Motivational clusters in a sample of British physical education classes. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 3, 177–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Okely, A., Booth, M., & Patterson, J. (2001). Relationship of physical activity to fundamental movement skills among adolescents. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 3, 1899–1904.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rovniak, L. S., Anderson, E. S., Winett, R. A., & Stephens, R. S. (2002). Social cognitive determinants of physical activity in young adults: A prospective structural equation analysis. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 24, 149–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Salmon, J., & King, A. C. (2010). Population approaches to increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behavior among children and adults. In D. Crawford, R. W. Jeffery, K. Ball, & J. Brug (Eds.), Obesity epidemiology: From aetiology to public health (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Salmon, J., Ball, K., Crawford, D., Booth, M., Telford, A., Hume, C., Jolley, D., & Worsley, A. (2005). Reducing sedentary behaviour and increasing physical activity among 10-year-old children: Overview and process evaluation of the ‘Switch-Play’ intervention. Health Promotion International, 20(1), 7–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Scanlon, T. K., & Lewthwaite, R. (1986). Social psychological aspects of competition for male youth sport participants: IV. Predictors of enjoyment. Journal of Sport Psychology, 8(1), 25–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Weiss, M. R., & Ebbeck, V. (1996). Self-esteem and perceptions of competence in youth sport: Theory, research, and enhancement strategies. The Encyclopaedia of Sports Medicine, 6, 364–382.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationSouthern Cross UniversityGold CoastAustralia

Personalised recommendations