Pretend Play and Technology: Young Children Making Sense of Their Everyday Social Worlds

  • Susan DanbyEmail author
  • Christina Davidson
  • Maryanne Theobald
  • Sandra Houen
  • Karen Thorpe
Part of the International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development book series (CHILD, volume 18)


Games and activities, often involving aspects of pretence and fantasy play, are an essential aspect of everyday preschool life for many young children. Young children’s spontaneous play activities can be understood as social life in action. Increasingly, young children’s games and activities involve their engagement in pretence using play props to represent computers, laptops and other pieces of technology equipment. In this way, pretend play becomes a context for engaging with matters from the real world. There are a number of studies investigating school-aged children engaging in gaming and other online activities, but less is known about what young children are doing with online technologies. Drawing on Australian Research Council funded research of children engaging with technologies at home and school, this chapter investigates how young children use technologies in everyday life by showing how they draw on props, both real or imaginary, to support their play activities. An ethnomethodological approach using conversation analysis is used to explore how children’s gestures, gaze and talk work to introduce ideas and activities. This chapter contributes to understandings of how children’s play intersects with technologies and pretend play.


Computer Game Target Word Spontaneous Activity Young Brother Pretend Play 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the Australian Research Council, who awarded funding to Susan Danby, Amanda Spink, Karen Thorpe and Christina Davidson for the project Interacting with Knowledge, Interacting with People: Web Searching in Early Childhood (DP110104227). The project has ethical approval by Queensland University of Technology’s University Human Research Ethics Committee (Reference No.: 1100001480) and Charles Sturt University’s Research Ethics Office (Reference No.: 2012/40). We thank the teachers, children and families of the Crèche and Kindergarten Association for their participation in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Danby
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christina Davidson
    • 2
  • Maryanne Theobald
    • 1
  • Sandra Houen
    • 1
  • Karen Thorpe
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Early Childhood, Faculty of EducationQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Education, Faculty of Arts and EducationCharles Sturt UniversityWagga WaggaAustralia
  3. 3.School of Psychology and Counselling, Faculty of HealthQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

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