NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ887032
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 51
ISSN: ISSN-0305-4985
Gender, Toys and Learning
Francis, Becky
Oxford Review of Education, v36 n3 p325-344 Jun 2010
In spite of continuing patterning of curriculum subject preference and choice by gender, there has been little recent attention to the argument developed in the 1970s that children play with different toys according to their gender, and that these provide girls and boys with (different) curriculum-related skills. The article describes a small-scale empirical study that asked parents of 3-5 year old children to identify their child's favourite toys and viewing material, and analysed responses according to children's gender. The most frequently identified toys and viewing materials were subjected to content and discourse analysis, with the intention of identifying both educative aspects of content, and the gender discourses reflected. The article explores conceptual issues around categorisations of "education" within toys and entertainment resources, positing the notion of "didactic information" to delineate between overtly educational content and other social discourses. Analysis reveals toy preferences to be highly gendered, with boys' toys and resources concentrated on technology and action, and girls' on care and stereotypically feminine interests. Didactic information, and aspects developing construction and literacy skills, were identified in the selected toys and resources for boys, and were lacking in those for girls. All the toys and resources could be read as implicated in "gendering": the various gender discourses, and other discourses around aspects of social identity reflected in the toys and resources are identified and analysed. The analysis presented suggests the value of reinvigorated attention to children's toys and entertainment resources in terms both of the education they afford, and their role in the production of social identities. (Contains 2 tables and 7 notes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A