Research Spotlight: Amy Stringer

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Meet Amy Stringer, a playground researcher from the UK, who is beginning her academic journey as a PhD student at the Centre for Physical Activity, Sport and Exercise Science at Coventry University. Recently, Amy reached out to one of our researchers, Charlotte Skau Pawlowski, to support her in clarifying data and gaining helpful insights into her current playground project. Let’s learn more about Amy and her research focus.

Amy:My research came about as a joint effort between Coventry University and three companies–Urban & Civic, Jupiter Play, and Bradley Murphy Designs–involved in playground design. Our aim is to explore the potential relationship between playgrounds, children’s physical activity, and fundamental movement skills.” 

In her PhD, Amy draws on her experience in performance analysis and engagement with elite youth soccer players to employ different research techniques and data collection approaches. This includes, for instance, using cameras to analyse footage or working with children and studying their movements.

Current Work 

Last year, Amy was involved in completing a Living Lab at Coventry University, which was used to study children’s play behaviour in a variety of outdoor settings. 

Amy explains: “As part of the process, we filmed children on playgrounds to observe their activities and interactions with different features. I opted for camera’s because current observation methods have several limitations, which can result in some data being missed. Currently, I am examining the video footage to analyse specific actions of the children, to gain insights into their behaviours and identify potential trends in their usage of playground features.” 

Future Plans 

The companies collaborating on Amy’s research are excited to integrate her findings in their future projects and playground designs. 

Amy is looking forward to a positive change: “In the coming years, I hope to see more playgrounds built based on research insights. This will help ensure that playgrounds meet children’s needs and encourage their physical activity and development.” 

Additionally, Amy is preparing to publish an article, showcasing the perspectives of playground stakeholders on playground design and the resulting impact on children’s physical activity and fundamental movement skills. 

We are excited for Amy’s future publications and applaud her commitment to advocate for the integration of research-based evidence in shaping the design, planning, and construction of playgrounds. 

Want to learn more about the impact of play spaces on children’s fundamental movement skills?  

Check out our brief, highlighting the differences of traditional vs. nature-based playgrounds: