Parks and Recreation for Kids: A study about families, youth, and parks

The University of Minnesota School of Public Health is partnering with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Department to conduct the Parks and Recreation for Kids (PARKS) study.

Neighborhood parks can provide access to green space and programs that help youth and families be active. Our goal is to gather data about how families living near our study parks use the space and park programming.

Through April 2022: Duluth and Case Park in Saint Paul, Minnesota

Starting May 2022:

Minneapolis, Minnesota:

  • Bottineau Field Park and Recreation Center
  • East Phillips Park and Cultural and Community Center
  • Farview Park and Recreation Center
  • Powderhorn Park and Recreation Center

Saint Paul, Minnesota:

  • Hancock Park and Recreation Center
  • Hazel Park and Recreation Center
  • Jimmy Lee Park and Recreation Center (Oxford Community Center)
  • Palace Park and Community Center
  • Rice Park and Recreation Center
  • West Minnehaha Park and Recreation Center

To participate in the PARKS study, you must:

  1. Be a parent or caregiver of a child that is 6-12 years old at the time of enrollment
  2. Live within 2 miles of a participating park in Minneapolis or Saint Paul
  3. You do NOT need to be a park user or participant in park programs to be eligible

Please contact our research team to complete the full eligibility screening process.

Study participants will be asked to complete a few activities listed below over two years.

  • A guided survey about physical activity – either in person at the local study park, or on Zoom
  • Wear a physical activity monitor on a belt for 7 days
  • Be measured for height and weight

You will take a survey and/or wear your activity tracker a few times over the span of two years:

  1. When you enroll: take a survey and wear your activity tracker for 7 days
  2. 6-months after enrolling: wear your activity tracker for 7 days
  3. 12-months after enrolling: take a survey and wear your activity tracker for 7 days
  4. 24-months after enrolling: take a survey and wear your activity tracker for 7 days

Study staff will keep track and contact you when it’s time for each activity.

You will receive $20 each time you and your child complete the survey and $50 each time you and your child wear the activity tracker for a 7-day period. This means that each measurement period can potentially pay participants $90. Participants that stay enrolled for two years can be compensated up to $290. Payments will be loaded on a debit card you will keep throughout the duration of the study.

I’m Interested! Now What?

We appreciate your interest – we couldn’t do this study without you! We would like to talk to you and determine if you are eligible. Please email study staff at with the following information:

  • Your child’s age
  • Nearest cross streets you live by

You can also call or text us at 612-790-5130 – we look forward to hearing from you!

parks study logo - drawing of a family playing at a park

Contact Us

Call, text, or email us if you are interested or have questions:


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