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ERIC Number: EJ983895
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0002-4805
Children's Gendered Drawings of Play Behaviours
Akseer, Tabasum; Lao, Mary Grace; Bosacki, Sandra
Alberta Journal of Educational Research, v58 n2 p300-305 Sum 2012
According to child psychologists, vital links exist between children's drawings and their emotional, social, and cognitive development. Previous research has explored the important relations between drawings and play in educational settings. Given the vast research that explores the ambiguous topic of children's play, according to Richer (1990), the concept of play can be translated into two categories: (1) physical or athletic play (e.g., soccer); or (2) non-physical or non-athletic play (e.g., reading). Richer also extends this framework to include: (1) competitive physical and athletic activities (e.g., competitive team sports such as tennis or more solitary activities such as golf); (2) co-operative physical activities (e.g., building a fort); or (3) autotelic or solitary physical activities (e.g., biking, solitary running). Gender-related findings regarding the content in children's play pictures suggests that some girls are more likely than boys to draw non-physical and co-operative activities, and to include written text. As previous research on children's (ages 6 to 9) drawings indicate, when children are asked to draw a picture of them at "play" they are more likely to draw pictures involving physical (i.e., autotelic, co-operative, or competitive) activity. Therefore, researchers do anticipate predominantly viewing drawings of physical activities. In terms of gender, past research suggests that compared to girls, boys are more likely to engage in aggressive games, while girls have been found to participate more often than boys in co-operative games. This gender-related difference in play has been shown to also be reflected in children's drawings of play, although few studies explore the subtypes of different kinds of play expressed by children's drawings. This study explores elementary school-aged children's expressions of themselves through drawings and stories of themselves within a play context. Also, given that children's sense of selves are strongly influenced by their view of themselves as a girl or a boy, this study explores how children's expressions of gender are represented in their drawings and descriptions of self and play. The results of the categorical coding of the drawings across both genders revealed that the majority of girls and boys indicated a preference for drawing pictures of physical types of play. Content analysis of the drawings revealed that 89.7% of boys (26/29 boys) and 82.5% of girls (33/40 girls) drew pictures of physical types of play (such as soccer, baseball, skipping). There was no statistically significant gender-related difference in terms of drawings of physical or non-physical activities.
University of Alberta, Faculty of Education. 845 Education Centre South, Edmonton, AB T6G 2G5, Canada. Tel: 780-492-7941; Fax: 780-492-0236; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A