This study was designed to compare how 5- to 13-year-old children's leisure activity preferences differ with age and gender. Responses from 60 boys and 60 girls about their favorite toys, television shows, computer games, and outdoor activities were compared across leisure categories. The results showed that gender was a significant factor. Overall, boys spent more time in these leisure activities than girls did. They spent the most time engaged in sports, watching television, and playing computer games, whereas girls spent the most time watching television. Results from a gender index for all activities indicated that boys' leisure preferences became slightly more masculine with age. For girls, preferences for television shows became more feminine with age, but preferences for toys, computer games, and sports became less feminine. These self-chosen preferences may provide differential opportunities for the development of visual-spatial skills, achievement, initiative, self-regulation, and social skills.
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We thank Amanda Stein and Kate Rudersdorf for their help with this study. We are also grateful to the parents and students of Brownell-Talbot school who volunteered for this study and to the staff for their willingness to let us collect data at their establishment.
Bikes, trucks, scooters,space-related transportation
Board games and cards
Toys guns, sling shot
Arts and Crafts
Listed as arts and crafts
Compact discs and C.D. players
Teddy bears, Beanie Babies
Toy Soldiers, Pokemon action figures
Tea sets, make-up
Barbie other baby dolls
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Cherney, I.D., London, K. Gender-linked Differences in the Toys, Television Shows, Computer Games, and Outdoor Activities of 5- to 13-year-old Children. Sex Roles 54, 717–726 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-006-9037-8
- Gender differences
- leisure activities
- middle childhood