Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor, Islamic Azad University, North Tehran Branch

2 Department of Restoration, Faculty of Architecture and Environmental Design, Iran University of Science & Technology, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


Physical inactivity is one of the factors that seriously threatens the quality of life of today’s children and adults of tomorrow. Schools are one of the most important spaces for promoting motor behavior. In the current research, a qualitative system, content analysis method, and the Delphi technique were used to explore the factors and components of motivating the movement of students in the open space of schools. At first, by examining the background of the research, factors, and variables effective in increasing physical activity were identified. To collect the data, a semi-structured questionnaire was administered to 15 experts in the field of architecture of educational space from different universities in Tehran. After receiving the questionnaires and analysis of the feedback surveys, 26 influential variables were obtained. To find the relationship between the effective factors and the extracted components, a total of 130 architects and school staff were selected through non-random sampling and used a closed questionnaire with a Likert rating scale. The results have led to the exploration of social/interactive components along with their sub-variables including (participation, educability, naturalism, group interactions, explorability, and yard rotation), environmental factors (sunlight, materials, safety, arrange, personalization, temperature, and seasonal changes), physical factors (form, proportions, shape, and dimensions), cognitive component (marking and color), managerial factor (yard diversity, supervision, density, and accessibility) and behavioral components (familiarity, flexibility, and ergonomic). Taking into account the factors and variables involved in the physical activity of students in the schoolyard will provide an environment that encourages children’s motor behavior.


Main Subjects

  1. Owen MB. An investigation into the effectiveness of school-based physical activity interventions for adolescent girls. Edge Hill University; 2018. Available at:
  2. Massey W V., Perez D, Neilson L, Thalken J, Szarabajko A. Observations from the playground: common problems and potential solutions for school-based recess. Health Educ J. 2021;80(3):313–26.
  3. Lanza K, Alcazar M, Hoelscher DM, Kohl HW. Effects of trees, gardens, and nature trails on heat index and child health: design and methods of the Green Schoolyards Project. BMC Public Health. 2021;21(1):1–12.
  4. Pagels P, Wester U, Mårtensson F, Guban P, Raustorp A, Fröberg A, et al. Pupils’ use of school outdoor play settings across seasons and its relation to sun exposure and physical activity. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2020;36(5):365–72.
  5. Ebrahimzadeh F, Mehdizadeh Saradj F, Norouzian Maleki S, Piri S. Mapping of co-occurrence of scientific products in the field of children's physical activity in the open space of primary schools. Mot Behav. 2022;13(46):201–30. (In Persian).
  6. Raney MA, Hendry CF, Yee SA. Physical activity and social behaviors of urban children in green playgrounds. Am J Prev Med. 2019;56(4):522–9.
  7. Christodoulou A, Korfiatis K. Children’s interest in school garden projects, environmental motivation and intention to act: a case study from a primary school of Cyprus. Appl Environ Educ Commun. 2019;18(1):2–12.
  8. Andermo S, Hallgren M, Nguyen TTD, Jonsson S, Petersen S, Friberg M, et al. School-related physical activity interventions and mental health among children: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sport Med-Open. 2020;6(1):25.
  9. Ebrahimzadeh F, Mehdizadeh Saradj F, Norouzian-Maleki S, Piri S. Design indicators affecting the student’s place attachment in open spaces of schools from the perspective of experts in architecture. Technol Educ J. 2020;15(1):191–205. (In Persian).
  10. Sallis JF, Prochaska JJ, Taylor WC. A review of correlates of physical activity of children and adolescents. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000;32(5):963–75.
  11. Kremers SPJ, de Bruijn GJ, Visscher TLS, van Mechelen W, de Vries NK, Brug J. Environmental influences on energy balance-related behaviors: a dual-process view. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2006;3: 9.
  12. Neumark-Sztainer D, Story M, Hannan PJ, Tharp T, Rex J. Factors associated with changes in physical activity. 2016;157:803–10.
  13. Eskola S, Tossavainen K, Bessems K, Sormunen M. Children’s perceptions of factors related to physical activity in schools. Educ Res. 2018;60(4):410–26.
  14. Mehtälä A, Villberg J, Blomqvist M, Huotari P, Jaakkola T, Koski P, et al. Individual- And environmental-related correlates of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in 11-, 13-, and 15-year-old Finnish children. PLoS One. 2020;15(6):365-72.
  15. Noonan RJ. An investigation into children’s out-of-school physical activity [PhD dissertation]. [Liverpool] : John Moores University; 2017.
  16. Andersen HB, Christiansen LB, Pawlowski CS, Schipperijn J. What we build makes a difference–Mapping activating schoolyard features after renewal using GIS, GPS and accelerometers. Landsc Urban Plan. 2019;191:103617.
  17. Taylor SL. Active schools: skelmersdale (AS:Sk) –Intervention approaches to promote primary school physical activity in a high deprivation community — Edge Hill University [Internet]. Edge Hill University; 2018.
  18. Pawlowski CS, Andersen HB, Schipperijn J. Difference in outdoor time and physical activity during recess after schoolyard renewal for the least-active children. J Phys Act Heal. 2020;17(10):968–76.
  19. Pawlowski CS, Veitch J, Andersen HB, Ridgers ND, Denman S, Moon A, et al. Designing activating schoolyards: seen from the girls’ viewpoint. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019;16(19):3508.
  20. Van Kann DHH, de Vries SI, Schipperijn J, de Vries NK, Jansen MWJ, Kremers SPJ. Schoolyard characteristics, physical activity, and sedentary behavior: combining GPS and accelerometry. J Sch Health. 2016;86(12):913–21.
  21. Delidou E, Matsouka O, Nikolaidis C. Influence of school playground size and equipment on the physical activity of students during recess. Eur Phys Educ Rev. 2016;22(2):215–24.
  22. Dyment JE, Bell AC. Active by design: promoting physical activity through school ground greening. Child Geogr. 2007;5(4):463–77.
  23. Czalczynska-Podolska M. The impact of playground spatial features on children’s play and activity forms: an evaluation of contemporary playgrounds’ play and social value. J Environ Psychol. 2014;38:132–42.
  24. D’Haese S, Van Dyck D, De Bourdeaudhuij I, Cardon G. Effectiveness and feasibility of lowering playground density during recess to promote physical activity and decrease sedentary time at primary school. BMC Public Health. 2013;13(1):1–10.
  25. Van Kann DHH, De Vries SI, Schipperijn J, De Vries NK, Jansen MWJ, Kremers SPJ. A multicomponent schoolyard intervention targeting children’s recess physical activity and sedentary behavior: effects after 1 year. J Phys Act Heal. 2017;14(11):866–75.
  26. Blaes A, Ridgers ND, Aucouturier J, Van Praagh E, Berthoin S, Baquet G. Effects of a playground marking intervention on school recess physical activity in French children. Prev Med (Baltim). 2013;57(5):580–4.
  27. Makvandi N, Naimikia M, Ghasemi A. Effect of school playground activities on behavioral incompatibilities among 7-11 years students with intellectual disability. Mot Behav. 2020;12(42):37–54. (In Persian).
  28. Kashi A, Ghorbanzadeh B, Shirvaniha Z. The effect of inclusive education system in elementary schools on motor, social and emotional development of students with intellectual disability. Mot Behav. 2018;10(33):105–24. (In Persian).
  29. Remmers T, Thijs C, Timperio A, Salmon J, Veitch J, Kremers SPJ, et al. Daily weather and children’s physical activity patterns. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017;49(5):922–9.
  30. Farley TA, Meriwether RA, Baker ET, Rice JC, Webber LS. Where do the children play? The influence of playground equipment on physical activity of children in free play. J Phys Act Heal. 2008;5(2):319–31.
  31. Farmer VL, Williams SM, Mann JI, Schofield G, McPhee JC, Taylor RW. The effect of increasing risk and challenge in the school playground on physical activity and weight in children: a cluster randomised controlled trial (PLAY). Int J Obes. 2017;41(5):793–800.
  32. Vanos JK, McKercher GR, Naughton K, Lochbaum M. Schoolyard shade and sun exposure: assessment of personal monitoring during children’s physical activity. Photochem Photobiol. 2017;93(4):1123–32.
  33. Czalczynska-Podolska M. The impact of playground spatial features on children’s play and activity forms: an evaluation of contemporary playgrounds’ play and social value. J Environ Psychol. 2014;38:132–42.
  34. Pate RR, Dowda M, Dishman RK, Colabianchi N, Saunders RP, McIver KL. Change in children’s physical activity: predictors in the transition from elementary to middle school. Am J Prev Med. 2019;56(3):65–73.
  35. McWhannell N, Triggs C, Moss S. Perceptions and measurement of playtime physical activity in English primary school children: The influence of socioeconomic status. Eur Phys Educ Rev. 2019;25(2):438–55.
  36. Massey WV, Stellino MB, Geldhof J. An observational study of recess quality and physical activity in urban primary schools. BMC Public Health. 2020;20(1):1–12.
  37. Harrison F, van Sluijs EMF, Corder K, Jones A. School grounds and physical activity: associations at secondary schools, and over the transition from primary to secondary schools. Heal Place. 2016;39: 34–42.
  38. Marks J, Barnett LM, Strugnell C, Allender S. Changing from primary to secondary school highlights opportunities for school environment interventions aiming to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour: a longitudinal cohort study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2015;12(1):1–10.
  39. Engelen L, Wyver S, Perry G, Bundy A, Chan TKY, Ragen J, et al. Spying on children during a school playground intervention using a novel method for direct observation of activities during outdoor play. J Adventure Educ Outdoor Learn. 2018;18(1):86–95.
  40. Bundy A, Engelen L, Wyver S, Tranter P, Ragen J, Bauman A, et al. Sydney playground project: a cluster-randomized trial to increase physical activity, play, and social skills. J Sch Health. 2017;87(10):751–9.
  41. Windle PE. Delphi technique: assessing component needs. J Perianesth Nurs. 2004;19(1):46-7.
  42. Kline RB. Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. New York: Guilford Publications; 2015.
  43. Ebrahimzadeh F, Tarkashvand A. Functions and features of the residential spaces matching children’s needs. Arman Archit Urban Dev. 2019;12(26):1–13. (In Persian).



  1. Azemati HR, Saleh Sedghpoor B, Aminifar Z. Construction and validation a scale to measure the quality of the school’s yard features Effective on the children physical activity in the school yard. Technol Educ J. 2018;12(4):329–36. (In Persian).
  2. Sohrabi F, Shamsipour-Dehkordi P, Ahar S, Sohrabi S. The effect of levels of physical activity and physical maturity on motor competency of children in Tehran. Feyz J Kashan Univ Med Sci. 2022;25(6):1324–32. (In Persian).
  3. Freitas TCB, Gabbard C, Caçola P, Montebelo MIL, Santos DCC. Family socioeconomic status and the provision of motor affordances in the home. Brazilian J Phys Ther. 2013;17(4):319–27.
  4. Fathi Rezaie Z, Abbaspour K, Zamani Sani SH. The effect of play in natural outdoor and indoor space on the social and perceptual development of preschool children. Mot Behav. 2020;12(40):103–20. (In Persian).
  5. Gubbels JS, Kremers SP, Van Kann DH, Stafleu A, Candel MJ, Dagnelie PC, et al. Interaction between physical environment, social environment, and child characteristics in determining physical activity at child care. Health Psychol. 2011;30(1):84-90.