What the mathematics in the puzzles and handicrafts in 1920s Danish children’s magazines tells about childhoods
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionLange, T., & Meaney, T. (2019). What the mathematics in the puzzles and handicrafts in 1920s Danish children’s magazines tells us about childhoods. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 20(4), 394-408. 10.1177/1463949119888480
The media that adults decide is appropriate for children to engage with has always reflected societal views about appropriate childhoods. However, these views can differ. Although studies have been done on the connection between childhoods and children’s media experiences, in this paper the mathematics in puzzles and handicrafts in a selection of Danish children’s magazines from 1925 to 1930 is analysed. The analysis shows that there were a predominance of measuring and designing activities with children engaging in adult-equivalent tasks, such as building a hen house. These tasks had limited specific instructions, indicating that children needed to persevere in working out the details. On the whole the kind of appropriate childhoods that are presented through these tasks remain consistent across the more than five years of the publications. As well, very few distinctions are made according to gender indicating that the Danish magazine editors in the 1920s did not differentiate their expectations about appropriate childhoods. The puzzles and handicrafts indicate that appropriate childhoods were considered as those which prepared children for adulthood and which valued the importance of doing things.
Author's accepted manuscript (postprint).