Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Verenikina, I, Herrington, J, Peterson, R and Mantei, J, The affordances and limitations of computers for play in early childhood, Proceedings of the World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications, Vienna, Austria, 3-4 June, 2008.


The widespread proliferation of computer games for children as young as 6 months of age, merits a re-examination of their manner of use and their facility to provide opportunities for developmental play. This paper describes a research study conducted to explore the use of computer games by young children, specifically to investigate the affordances and limitations of such games and the features of children’s traditional play that can be supported and further enhanced by different kinds of computer play. Computer games were classified and selected according to game characteristics that support higher order thinking. Children aged 5 and 7 were observed playing the games, and a preliminary analysis of findings is given, together with suggestions for further research.

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