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Children's gendered and non-gendered play in natural spaces
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Child and Youth Studies.
2011 (English)In: Children, Youth and Environments, ISSN 1546-2250, Vol. 21, no 2, 5--33 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper concerns gender aspects of children’s play in nature environments. In an ethnographic study, children between 1½ and 6 years in a Swedish outdoor preschool were videotaped during time for free play. Four different play themes were particularly popular among the children: war and superhero play, family play, animal play and physical play. Each one of these themes has been analyzed from two perspectives: how nature resources are used and which gender positions they provide. Within the themes, nature’s affordances are used in various ways. Similarly, a range of gender positions is evident across the themes. The superhero theme includes exclusively gender-stereotyped masculine play positions, while the family theme includes both traditional gender positions and possibilities for transgressions. Further, animal play as well as physical play provides non-gendered play positions. Natural environments are not gender-coded in themselves and they invite certain play activities where girls and boys play together. Thus, nature spaces seem to offer good opportunities to promote gender equity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 21, no 2, 5--33 p.
Keyword [en]
gender, play, preschool, nature, outdoor play
National Category
Research subject
Child and Youth Science; Early Childhood Education
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-69119OAI: diva2:474994
Swedish Research Council, 2005-3265
Available from: 2012-01-26 Created: 2012-01-10 Last updated: 2012-01-26Bibliographically approved

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Änggård, Eva
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