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January 2022

Play through the eyes of children: Use of cameras to study after-school use of leisure time and leisure space by pre-adolescent children

Author(s): Jones, M.

Journal/Book: Loisir Soc Soc Leisure. 1996; 19: 2875 Boulevard Laurier, St Foy Pq G1V 2M3, Canada. Presses Univ Quebec. 341-361.

Abstract: This paper reports on the use of cameras by children to record how they used their play environments during after-school play in an Australian provincial city. The study was one of six carried out concurrently to illuminate the complexity of children's after-school leisure and the environment in which it takes place. Twenty four children, twelve boys and twelve girls, were issued with disposable cameras to photograph their play in after-school time and leisure space. They produced 342 usable images which were analyzed by location, setting and activities. There was no measurable gender difference in choice of play location, but place of residence strongly influenced this choice. Both boys and girls had a strong tendency to choose open and natural locations, and naturalistic settings dominated play spaces. While the expected multiplicity of activities in children's free play is demonstrated in the photographs, so is the importance of solitude and reflection. The photos also reveal a much higher incidence of mixed-gender play than is commonly reported for this age group.

Note: Article Cunningham C, Univ New England, Dept Geog & Planning, Armidale, NSW 2351, AUSTRALIA

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