Nonsuperhero Toys

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A study by Parsons & Howe (2006) examined the influence of superhero versus nonsuperhero toys on boys and their imaginative play. The purpose of the study was to examine how playing with superhero toys versus nonsuperhero toys would affect the quality of play. The authors considered four specific areas. They explored the frequency of superhero play, the themes used, the levels of physical activity while playing and the amount of aggression used while playing with different kinds of toys. It was hypothesized by the authors that the participants would be more likely to engage in imaginative play with the superhero toys. It was also believed that there would be a larger variety of imaginative themes in the nonsuperhero play conditions. Lastly,…show more content…
Since superhero play often results in children pretending to be the characters they see on television and in movies, children may imitate their superheroes and the scenarios they endure thus resulting in more active physical play. This active play may be seen by some as more aggressive in nature thus the concerns about superhero play come to light. Due to differing studies and opinions, it is believed by Parsons and Howe (2009) that further research is required before reaching any conclusions. Method
A group of fifty-eight boys from twelve different child care centers participated in the study. The boys involved were 54.95 months, or a little over 4.5 years of age. Each boy involved came from a largely bilingual area and most came from bi- or trilingual homes. All of the boys attended daycare fulltime and came from middle class families. In order to participate, permission was granted by the parents of the boys. With proper permission, the author of the study went into each classroom and got to know the students more personally. She wanted to develop a good rapport and familiarize herself with her test subjects. To create paired play groups, she had the children
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Parsons and Howe note, (2009) this suggests that superhero toys do not necessarily encourage aggressive play or that children use aggressive play while playing with superhero toys.
It is important to understand that play is a very important part of a child’s development and growth. Many play toys are influenced by the media including toys made from cartoon characters and movie characters like princesses and superheroes. It is inevitable that our children and the way they play will likely be affected by their experiences with the media and media influenced toys. These toys may have an effect on children’s ways of playing including their choice of roles, themes, and level of activity to some extent. Mass media plays a very important role in children’s lives and it is very important that we continue to investigate the possibilities that superhero play may have on children. As parents and teachers, we can promote positive play experiences by allowing children to manipulate and use superhero toys and props, like capes and costumes, and encouraging fantasy and role play
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