An Observational Assessment of Physical Activity Levels and Social Behavior During Residential Summer Camp Unstructured Time
Author ORCID Identifier
American Journal of Health Promotion
Purpose: To evaluate children’s physical activity (PA) levels, social play behavior, activity time, and social interactions during unstructured time. Approach: Systematic observation tool to record child’s PA level, social group size, activity type, and social interaction during play. Setting: Northeast US residential summer camp, pseudonym Forest Hills Camp. Participants: Fifty-nine third-grade campers (27 males and 32 females). Method: Observational data were obtained using the System for Observing Children’s Activity and Relationships during Play (SOCARP). Data were analyzed using independent samples t tests (with Bonferroni adjustment) to assess statistical differences between boys and girls SOCARP categories. Results: Both boys and girls spend over 50% of their time in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Statistically significant differences between genders were observed: activity level—(a) girls sat more than boys, and (2) boys engaged in more vigorous activity; activity type—(1) boys engaged in more sport activity, girls engaged in more locomotion activity, and girls were more sedentary; and social interactions—(1) boys had more physical conflict, and (2) boys had more verbal conflict. Conclusion: Contrary to previous research suggesting that summer campers have increased sedentary behavior during unstructured time, our results indicate that third-grade campers engaged in MVPA over 50% of their unstructured time. This suggests that unstructured time in outdoor camp settings may provide valuable opportunities for adolescent children to choose PA.
children, physical activity, SOCARP, social behaviors, summer camps
Wahl-Alexander, Zachary and Morehead, Craig A., "An Observational Assessment of Physical Activity Levels and Social Behavior During Residential Summer Camp Unstructured Time" (2020). NIU Bibliography. 440.
Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KNPE)