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16 Cards in this Set

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  • Back


- Evident cross culturally

- differs according to age and gender

- seen to make children's world as distinct from adults

- can be explained through Romantic discourses = free exploration


- can be explained through Puritan discourse = animal origins of play, expression of base instincts (children had to be saved from the worst excesses of themselves through strict training and sound teaching)

- can be seen in terms of development, emotional well-being or social roles and positions in society

- conjures up ideas that revolve around the relationship between child and toy rather than play without a toy


Cultural differences

- DUKAN: Sudanese village children acting out babies dying, children rehearsing possible future roles

- Wrestling among minority world boys can be seen as boys just letting off steam (playing for plays sake)

Academics view play as:

- a means to an end; helps children to grow into contributing, acceptable adult members of society (adults in the making)

Role play (socio-dramatic play)

- children making sense of their world (understanding others, learning about social roles, acquiring language)

- important to a child's sense of self (imagine themselves in different roles, develop a sense of themselves as individuals ie. Sudanese girls doing housework AND collecting wood as part of their role play)

Opie and Opie

children inhabit a separate subculture:

- that should be understood in its own right and not only part of becoming an adult

- subculture plays down effects of relations with adults which is problematic as majority of their time is spent with adults

Concerted cultivation

describes how every parent-child interaction and routine becomes a learning opportunity


- reading bedtime story = encourages early reading

- Mealtime conversation = encourages vocabulary

Parental involvement

(parent-child interactions, especially Mothers)

- contributes to educational success

- Mother-child play is NOT universal (can be related to minority world ethnocentrism)

- Rare beyond minority world with possible reasons being infant mortality rates

[Importance of parent-child bond and play links to Bowlby: attachment theory, lack of maternal input can lead to mental health problems later in life.]

- Increasing parental intervention makes the notion of childhood as a separate culture harder to sustain as does intertwining play, work and learning in the majority world

Play, work and learning in the majority world

- Katz studied Sudanese village life which was full of agriculture, animal husbandry and forestry

- here knowledge passes on through generations through:



riddles and songs

shared adult-child activities



Manufactured toys

- not involved in British children's play until mid 19th Century

- hoops, spinning tops, rag dolls and balls were made from every day objects

- manufactured toys were a privilege for the wealthy minority

- those found in museums now are likely to be designed for adults or ones for wealthy children

- 20th century saw expansion of mass produced factory made toys and toys were no longer a luxury item

Commercialisation of play

- mass marketing and the use of TV to promote toys meant commercial toys were firmly established within play

- economic interests rather than desire to inspire and educate are motivating toy design and development, creating an 'I want' culture

Good and bad toys

- 'play is the work of children and their tools' has informed almost a century of work and focused on play as a process of intellectual, emotional and social development rather than the toy

- different toys are deemed appropriate and sometimes necessary for different stages of development (encountered at the wrong stage may hinder development)

- a fixation on intellectual and social development may ignore broader meanings and emotions attached to toys

- by the 50's: toy guns incite aggression, Barbie dolls have an unrealistic figure and pester power means pressure for parents, all of which influenced the rise of educational toys

Folklore and traditional games

- traditional games are supposed to be in decline

but are re-emerging throughout generations

- 19th century = people thought this too, due to the railways

- 20th century = people thought this was due to the radio, gramophones, pop music and computer games

- folklore is not static, it is always changing and evolving, eg. Barbie girls song changing into Teenage girls song (Grugeon, playground cultures)

- the alteration of rhymes and games could be an explanation for the concern of traditional play demise

Digital media

- influences contemporary play activities

- commercialisation of toys also influences contemporary play activities

- Grugeon = children absorb these influences into their overall play experience eg. running and chasing games taking on the theme of a computer game, such as Pokemon

- research shows traditional games are not marginalised or threatened by digital media

[Links to crisis of childhood and that the perception of the 'golden age' is cyclic and not new]

Imaginative play

- can be a social activity

- can also be solitary (especially at home)

- usually short lived, as a single game


- can also continue for years

- today it can take on a digital character ie. virtual worlds such as SimCity and Minecraft

- adults also engage in this type of play (imaginary virtual worlds)

Play and inclusion and exclusion

- play and the process of inclusion and exclusion creates social hierarchies

- children have to choose who will be included and excluded which produces power relations and social hierarchies among children

- children may devise many ways of excluding - drawing on sexism, racism (cultural stereotypes and popular prejudices)

Play and gender

- Thorne found playing in single sex groups strengthened gender identities [Links to sexuality and innocence]

- 'Borderwork' points to significance of gender in children's cultural worlds; characterises the ways on which children tend to form single sex friendship groups; they serve to create and strengthen gender boundaries

- 'Border-crossing' = disrupting gender defined boundaries eg. girls identifying as 'tom-boys', which provided an identity through which they could escape from 'hetero sexualised' practices, form strong friendships with boys and engage in 'male' activities