At Peaceful Playgrounds we often receive phone calls asking for an instrument that schools and/or researchers can use to assess physical activity. We most often refer these folks to Thom McKenzie Ph.D. at San Diego State University (CA) and his SOPLAY Instrument which is a system for observing play and leisure activity in youth.
SOPLAY is a validated direct observation tool for assessing physical activity and associated environmental characteristics in free play settings (e.g., recess and lunch at school).
SOPLAY provides objective data on the number of participants and their physical activity levels during play and leisure opportunities in targeted areas. Separate scans are made for males and females, and simultaneous entries for contextual characteristics of areas including their accessibility, usability, and whether or not supervision, organized activities, and equipment are provided. The predominant type of activity engaged in by area users is also recorded (e.g., basketball, dance).