Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 367–376 | Cite as

Bring Your Own Toy: Socialisation of Two-Year-Olds Through Tool-Mediated Activities in an Australian Early Childhood Education Context

  • Anne KulttiEmail author
  • Niklas Pramling


The study focuses on how young children are socialised in early childhood education practice in activities with and around toys. A premise of this study is the theoretical notion of sociocultural theory that people do things with artefacts and other cultural tools, and tools do things with people. This is captured in the unit of analysis, tool-mediated activities. Two activities, documented by video observations, are analysed. The empirical data are illustrated through images and transcripts, and the analysis is grounded on an interactional approach. The analysis illustrates that play activities in this practice offer opportunities to use toys in individual ways. Yet, the toys also provide ways of participating in activities together with other children when there is a common artefact within the activity, for instance a parking lot for driving cars on. Therefore, even when playing individually and with individual toys, children can participate in a joint activity. How toys mediated knowledge and practice on individual, interpersonal, and institutional planes is discussed. The findings suggest that toys support communication before children have developed verbal language skills and that certain types of tools facilitate both individual and collective use.


Artefacts Toys Socialisation Non-verbal communication Participation Early childhood education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education, Communication and LearningUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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