ERIC Number: ED310885
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1987-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
A Historical Study of Children's Heroes and Fantasy Play.
Is the superhero that preschool children emulate and dramatize in their play qualitatively different from the heroes of children in the past? To answer this question, data were gathered (1) from a historical review of the literature on children's play and their heroes and (2) from a survey questionnaire completed by 100 subjects stratified to represent distinct periods in time. Study results indicated: (1) significantly more heroic adventure play in early childhood as reported by post-TV age groups; (2) significantly more fantasy heroes as favorite characters from this same age group; and (3) that friends, siblings, and parents' occupations dropped as key sources for fantasy heroes as the media, including television, rose as a primary source of information about favorite heroes. Before TV, preschool children engaged in dramatic roles patterned after those adults they were close to and wished to model. Most often, these models were family members and other "real" people of the community, such as teachers, store clerks, firemen, and nurses. In middle childhood, after about 8 years of age, children moved from modeling known, predictable people to playing out adventure themes with more distant, fantasy characters, such as cowboys, army personnel, cops, and robbers. Descriptive statistics provide additional information on types of play, favorite characters, and salient qualities of heroes from the sample population. (RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Boise State Univ., ID. School of Education.