Growing Minds: The Relationship Between Parental Attitude about Nature and the Development of Fine and Gross Motor Skills in Children
MetadataShow full item record
Adults associate their childhood with playing outdoors, often in natural settings. This type of free play is valuable to child development. Children tend to use outdoor play areas in physically active ways, and time spent outdoors relates positively to increased physical activity in children. However, children today are spending an increasing amount of time indoors rather than outdoors. Recent research has shown that the amount of time children spend in outdoor play is directly related to parental concerns about their children's exposure to outdoor hazards. The purpose of this project was to investigate the relationship between parental attitude toward nature and the development of fine and gross motor skills in young children. The sample for this study was drawn from parents of children ages 3 to 5 years old enrolled at one of two University Child Development Centers. The assessment tool used was composed of sections that ask parents about their attitudes toward nature, about their young children spending time outdoors, how much time their children actually spend in outdoor and indoor activities, and standard demographic questions. The childcare centers independently assessed d correlations and ANOVA. Results from this study indicated that parents had positive views toward nature and towards their child's recreation. Children who participated in certain indoor activities tended to score higher in the area of fine motor skills. However, children who spent more time indoors in free play had lower gross motor skill scores. Parents who scored better on the Parental Attitude toward Their Child's Outdoor Recreation scale reported that their child spent more time in outdoor free play and outdoor organized sports and activities. Parents preferred outdoor play spaces when compared to indoor play spaces and specifically those outdoor spaces that were constructed with more nearby natural components.
social learning theory
primary socialization theory
McFarland, Amy Lene' (2011). Growing Minds: The Relationship Between Parental Attitude about Nature and the Development of Fine and Gross Motor Skills in Children. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from