University of Oulu

MERTALA, P., KARIKOSKI, H., TÄHTINEN, L. and SARENIUS, V. (2016) The value of toys: 6–8-year-old children’s toy preferences and the functional analysis of popular toys. International Journal of Play, 5(1), pp. 11-27.

The value of toys : 6–8-year-old children's toy preferences and the functional analysis of popular toys

Saved in:
Author: Mertala, Pekka1; Karikoski, Hannele1; Tähtinen, Liisa2;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Hiekkaharju Primary School, Vantaa, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2016
Publish Date: 2017-01-26


The aim of this study was to explore the kinds of toy preferred by 6–8-year-old children, asking: how, and on what basis, do children rationalize their preferences for particular toys? Data were collected by interviewing children in their homes. Children chose eight toys from a tailored catalog and explained why they wanted those particular items. Toys were analyzed with the aid of a framework designed to test their functional manipulation potential. The children’s reasoning was analyzed by means of inductive content analysis. Two kinds of values were found: (1) those which reside in the toy itself and (2) those which children give to toys. Sub-categories relating to material, social, and personal values were identified from the given values. The present paper deepens knowledge of the value of toys not only as playthings but also as cultural artifacts which children use as one form of their voice.

see all

Series: International journal of play
ISSN: 2159-4937
ISSN-E: 2159-4953
ISSN-L: 2159-4937
Volume: 5
Issue: 1
Pages: 11 - 27
DOI: 10.1080/21594937.2016.1147291
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
6132 Visual arts and design
616 Other humanities
Funding: Leikkaamo-project under grant 24301143.
Copyright information: © 2016 Taylor & Francis. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Play on 17/03/2016, available online: