Free
Research Article  |   September 2008
Playful Interaction: Occupational Therapy for All Children on the School Playground
Author Affiliations
  • Anita C. Bundy, ScD, is Professor of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, PO Box 170, Lidcombe New South Wales 1825, Australia; a.bundy@usyd.edu.au
  • Tim Luckett, PhD, is Project Manager for the Quality of Life Office at the Psycho-oncology Co-operative Research Group (PoCoG), University of Sydney, Australia. At the time of the study, he was a Senior Research Assistant in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney
  • Geraldine A. Naughton, PhD, is Professor in Paediatric Exercise Science, Centre of Physical Activity Across the Lifespan, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Paul J. Tranter, PhD, is Senior Lecturer in Geography; School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences; University of New South Wales; Australian Defence Force Academy Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
  • Shirley R. Wyver, PhD, is Senior Lecturer, Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
  • Jo Ragen, MM, is Lecturer, Discipline of Occupational Therapy, University of Sydney, Australia
  • Emma Singleton, BAppSc (Leisure & Health), is Corporate Sales and Events Manager, Bayleaf Catering, Sydney, Australia. At the time of this study, she was a student in Leisure and Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney, Australia
  • Greta Spies, BExSci is between positions. At the time of this study, she was a student in the Department of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, Sydney, Australia
Article Information
Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Children and Youth
Research Article   |   September 2008
Playful Interaction: Occupational Therapy for All Children on the School Playground
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2008, Vol. 62, 522-527. doi:10.5014/ajot.62.5.522
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2008, Vol. 62, 522-527. doi:10.5014/ajot.62.5.522
Abstract

We examined the impact of an intervention on the playfulness of 5- to 7-year-old children who are developing typically. Materials that had no defined purpose were placed on a school playground for 11 weeks. The Test of Playfulness (ToP) was used to compare videotaped play segments pre- and postintervention. Teachers who did playground duty were interviewed regarding changes in play. ToP data were analyzed using a Wilcoxon signed- ranks test. Interview data were analyzed for themes. ToP scores were significantly higher after intervention (Z = −1.94; p = .025, one-tailed; Cohen's d = 0.55). Teachers reported that children were more social, creative, and resilient when the materials were on the playground. Children who were creative, rather than very physically capable, became leaders in activity. Our results revealed a potential role for occupational therapists with typically developing children in schools. This finding has clear implications for children with disability.