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Research Article  |   May 2003
Play in Mayan Children
Author Affiliations
  • Susan Bazyk, MHS, OTR, is Associate Professor, Department of Health Sciences, Cleveland State University, 2121 Euclid Avenue, Health Sciences Building, Room 120, Cleveland, Ohio 44115; s.bazyk@csuohio.edu
  • David Stalnaker, OTR, is Staff Therapist, Easter Seals Society of Mahoning, Trumbull, and Columbiana, (Youngstown, Ohio)
  • Maricel Llerena, OTR, is Staff Therapist, The Achievement Centers for Children, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Beth Ekelman, JD, OTR, is Associate Professor, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio
  • John Bazyk, MS, OTR is Associate Professor, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio
Article Information
Infant and Childhood Occupation
Research Article   |   May 2003
Play in Mayan Children
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2003, Vol. 57, 273-283. doi:10.5014/ajot.57.3.273
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2003, Vol. 57, 273-283. doi:10.5014/ajot.57.3.273
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to describe the characteristics of play activities and playfulness in a group of Mayan children in southern Belize.

METHOD. This qualitative study involved participant observation in the daily occupations of 20 children from five Mayan families over a 2-week period. Analysis of the field notes, using open and closed coding, revealed themes specific to customs of child rearing, play activities, and playfulness.

FINDINGS. The primacy of adult work is a major cultural principle that influences Mayan children's daily occupations. Parents did not encourage play but permitted play if it did not interfere with work. Children found ways to integrate play activities and playfulness into their daily occupations.

CONCLUSION. The statement, “play is a child's major occupation,” may not be a universally held belief. Parental values and customs of child rearing should be considered in order to provide culturally sensitive and relevant services.