Off-campus UNL users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your NU ID and password. When you are done browsing please remember to return to this page and log out.

Non-UNL users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Indoor and outdoor play in preschool programs: A mixed methods study

Julia N Kroeker, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this explanatory sequential mixed methods study was to explain children's indoor and outdoor play in preschool programs in terms of teacher interaction, peer interaction and task orientation. In the first quantitative phase, children's indoor and outdoor play behaviors were compared using the Individualized Classroom Assessment Scoring System (inCLASS). In the second qualitative phase, the qualitative observations were collected to explain the quantitative differences between indoor and outdoor play settings. An explanatory sequential mixed methods design was used whereby the qualitative data provide an explanation for the quantitative data gathered in the first phase, and the two types of data provide a more complete picture of children's indoor and outdoor play behaviors. Findings for the quantitative phase included significant differences on task engagement and self-reliance, with both measures higher in an indoor play environment than an outdoor environment. Findings for the qualitative study helped explain the quantitative results by showing that movement play occurred outdoors only, with more higher-levels of cognitive play, such as constructive and dramatic play, occurring indoors. Qualitative notes were also coded for social play category. Findings from the quantitative phase revealed no significant differences between the indoor and outdoor environment in terms of teacher engagement and peer engagement.

Subject Area

Early childhood education|Physical education|Recreation

Recommended Citation

Kroeker, Julia N, "Indoor and outdoor play in preschool programs: A mixed methods study" (2014). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3667118.