Children, Youth and Environments;23(2)
University of Cincinnati
This article investigates how children play at different places in an outdoor area, and how the places influence child-managed bodily play. The study has a life-world approach, and the theoretical perspective is based on an interactional understanding of place. Qualitative material was gathered from interviews among children in a Norwegian after-school program and from close observations of their activities in the Climbing Area, at the Asphalt Place, and in the Sandpit. The findings show that bodily play that includes locomotory, stabilizing, and manipulative movements occurs in a relational process consisting of the affordances of the place and the abilities of the children. Initially, the Climbing Area offers opportunities for diverse bodily activities. At the Asphalt Place and in the Sandpit, it is the combination of the physical characteristics of each place and the equipment that stand out as affordances. Additionally, sociocultural factors play an important role in how the children play at the places.