Engaging children in activities beyond the classroom walls: A social-ecological exploration of Australian primary school children's enjoyment of school play activities

Brendon P. Hyndman, Barbara Chancellor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

As children spend a significant amount of time in schools, it is vital that play work practitioners develop an improved awareness relating to the influences on children's enjoyment of school play activities. The purpose of the present study was to assess children's enjoyment of school play activities beyond the classroom walls, including the type of play activities children enjoy and age- and gender-specific enjoyment levels. Within the study, the Lunchtime Enjoyment of Activity and Play (LEAP) questionnaire was administered to 281 children aged 8–12-years-old attending three primary schools in regional Victoria, Australia. The LEAP questionnaire was used to measure Australian primary school children's enjoyment of school play activities. In order for age- and gender-specific comparisons to be made for the LEAP questionnaire items, a chi-square statistical test was conducted. The findings revealed that females had a significantly higher enjoyment compared to males for a range of school play activities including walking, using imagination, creating and making things, climbing, hiding, sliding, sitting, resting/relaxing, being active, tag games, changing play activity and playing with more natural features. Males had a significantly higher enjoyment compared to females for playing when it's hot and using sports equipment. Younger children had significantly higher enjoyment for using imagination, creating and making things, hiding, playing inside and changing play location. With understandings of the types of school play activities that are most enjoyable to children during school play, educators, play work practitioners and school decision makers can employ the social–ecological model insight gained within the current study to guide future school-based planning and design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-141
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Playwork Practice
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015

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