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Preschool children's outdoor play area preferences

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This study explores preschool children's outdoor play preferences. The sample was 40 (20 male, 20 female) primarily European-American three and four year olds. Data were collected via naturalistic observation and analyzed using repeated measures ANOVAs and MANOVAs. The independent variable was sex of child; dependent variable was play space (riding, sandbox, slide, jungle gym, open space, castle/play house, swings). Findings revealed a significant effect of sex of child on choice of play space - boys preferred to play on the jungle gym and swings, whereas girls preferred the sandbox more than boys. These findings both support and contradict existing literature. Future research should pursue children's use of microspaces in their play environments.

Keywords: early childhood; outdoors; play spaces; playgrounds; preschool

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Monmouth University, New Jersey, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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