Gender Typed Play : A Very Apparent Aspect Of Preschool Aged Children 's Play Experiences

Gender Typed Play : A Very Apparent Aspect Of Preschool Aged Children 's Play Experiences

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Gender-typed play is a very apparent aspect of preschool aged children’s play experiences (Goble, Martin, Hanish, & Fabes, 2012). Research indicates that female children prefer to play with feminine items, and male children prefer to play with masculine items (Goble et al., 2012). It is also evident that children prefer to play with peers of the same-sex (Fabes, Martin, & Hanish, 2003). This could potentially contribute to why research tends to show the same patterns in gender-typed play. However, not every research study has shown this, so what, then, accounts for the variability that can be seen within these preferences in pre-school aged children, and why is this trend so apparent in this age group over others?
Gender-typed play is most often examined at the preschool age. This could be due to the fact that children at this age are playing for the most of the day, or perhaps there is another explanation. According to Golombok et al. (2008), at three years old children show a preference for one type of toy over another. Specifically, girls show interest in dolls, houses, and other toys that are often considered feminine, while boys tend to play with toy vehicles or weapons; things that are considered masculine (Golombok, et al., 2008). Goble et al. (2012), found that girls, when solitary, play with feminine and neutral toys at a rate of 75%, and boys, also when playing alone, play with masculine and neutral toys at a rate of 81%. This behavior allows for extensive research into gender-typed play, because it is something that is very prevalent at the preschool age.
The preschool age is also a time in children’s lives where gender is displayed in ways that are explicit, and very visible (Halim, Ruble, Tamis-LeMonda, & Shrout, 20...

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...owed more participation in feminine activities when they interacted with the teacher (Goble et al., 2012). These results help to guide the present study.
Based on the literature, I expected to find that preschool-age children will engage in more gender-typical play when solitary and playing with playmates of the same gender, than when they are with children of the opposite gender, where gender-neutral play is expected to be more prevalent due to the various gender preferences within the pair, or group of children. Research findings related to this topic show many expected results, for example girls participating in a smaller amount of feminine activities with only boys, than when both boys and girls are present (Fabes et al., 2003), thus leading to the hypothesis that more gender-neutral play will be seen in mixed-gender groups, than any gender-specific type of play.

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