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Research Article  |   July 2008
Children’s Perceptions of Play Experiences and Play Preferences: A Qualitative Study
Author Affiliations
  • Elissa Miller, OTD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT, and Private Practitioner, 419 Huntington Road, Stratford, CT 06614; millere@sacredheart.edu
  • Heather Kuhaneck, MS, OTR/L, is Instructor in Occupational Therapy, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT
Article Information
Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Children and Youth
Research Article   |   July 2008
Children’s Perceptions of Play Experiences and Play Preferences: A Qualitative Study
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2008, Vol. 62, 407-415. doi:10.5014/ajot.62.4.407
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2008, Vol. 62, 407-415. doi:10.5014/ajot.62.4.407
Abstract

This qualitative study investigated the perceptions of play experiences and rationales for play choices of 6 boys and 4 girls between the ages of 7 and 11 years. Individual in-depth interviews were completed and then transcribed, and the transcripts were coded and analyzed using grounded theory methodology. Fun emerged from the data as the core category explaining the choice of specific play activities for children, and 4 additional categories of characteristics surfaced as contributors to the children’s perception of fun: relational, activity, child, and contextual. The relationships among the core category, the 4 characteristics categories, and the development of play preference and meaningfulness are illustrated in the Dynamic Model for Play Choice. Included is a discussion of the usefulness of the model in supporting the careful consideration of factors that will increase the perception of fun during therapeutic activities and facilitate client-centered pediatric practice.