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.

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