Information about children’s activities provides an important means of exploring how the nature of childhood varies around the world. The way that children spend their time and the things that they do are also relevant issues for public policy. For example, in wealthier countries there are concerns about whether children have enough exercise and whether the increasing access to, and appeal of, electronic technologies has led to children adopting a more sedentary lifestyle. Children’s activities have therefore come to be seen as of broad policy relevance. This chapter explores children’s answers to 16 questions about the frequency of their participation in different activities in four categories – housework and caring; learning; social activities with family and friends; and leisure. It demonstrates the substantial diversity of children’s daily lives in different countries with wide variations in the frequency of activities such as helping with housework. It also sheds light on contrasting age and gender variations in activities, including some fairly consistent gender-related patterns of participation in activities such as housework, homework, reading for pleasure, sports/exercising and using computers.
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