Play and creativity in young children’s use of apps

Jackie Marsh, Lydia Plowman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This study is the first to systematically investigate the extent to which apps for children aged 0-5 foster play and creativity. There is growing evidence of children’s use of tablets, but limited knowledge of the use of apps by children of children of this age. This ESRC-funded study undertook research that identified how UK children aged from 0-5 use apps, and how far the use of apps promotes play and creativity, given the importance of these for learning and development. A survey was conducted of 2000 parents of under 5s in the UK, using a random, stratified sample, and ethnographic case studies of children in six families were undertaken. Over 17 hours of video films of children using apps were analysed. Findings indicate that children of this age are using a variety of apps, some of which are not aimed at their age range. The design features of such apps can lead to the support or inhibition of play and creativity. The study makes an original contribution to the field in that it offers an account of how apps contribute to the play and creativity of children aged five and under.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberBJET12622
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Technology
Early online date16 Jul 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jul 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • tablets
  • play
  • creativity
  • early childhood education


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