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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/01/2005   
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Contents >> Culture and recreation >> Children's participation in selected leisure activities

A survey of children's activities conducted in April 2003 found almost all children aged 5-14 years (99.8% or 2,641,500) were involved in at least one of six selected leisure activities outside of school hours in the two school-weeks prior to interview.

While TV or video watching attracted almost equal percentages of boys (99%) and girls (98%), a much greater percentage of boys played electronic or computer games (82% of boys compared with 59% of girls), rode bikes (70% versus 53%), or went skateboarding or rollerblading (28% versus 17%). Girls participated to a much greater extent than boys in reading for pleasure (82% of girls compared with 68% of boys), and art and craft activities (61% versus 39%) (table 12.36).

Children spent more time watching television or videos than they did on any of the other selected activities, with an average of 22 hours over a school fortnight. By contrast, the average time spent by participants on each of the two next-most popular activities (reading for pleasure and playing electronic or computer games) was eight hours over a school fortnight. The times children spent participating in the remaining selected activities were very similar, with both bike riding and art and craft activities averaging six hours, and skateboarding or rollerblading averaging five hours over a school fortnight.

Changes in participation since 2000

The largest changes between 2000 and 2003 in participation in these selected leisure activities were a decline of 212,900 in the number of children who skateboarded or rollerbladed and an increase of 140,500 in the number of children who did art and craft activities (table 12.35). However, this does not imply that children's leisure activities have become more sedentary over the period, as they may have increased their participation in organised sport or other active leisure pursuits not covered by the survey.


12.35 CHILDREN INVOLVED IN SELECTED LEISURE ACTIVITIES(a)

2000
2003


Number
Participation rate
Number
Participation rate
'000
%
'000
%

Males
Skateboarding or rollerblading
481.6
35.6
386.4
28.5
Bike riding
963.1
71.1
957.4
70.5
Watching TV or videos
1,312.2
96.9
1,338.6
98.6
Playing electronic or computer games
1,071.5
79.1
1,110.8
81.8
Art and craft activities
466.1
34.4
529.8
39.0
Reading for pleasure(b)
. .
. .
919.2
67.7
Total(c)
1,342.6
99.1
1,356.3
99.9
Females
Skateboarding or rollerblading
335.8
26.1
218.2
16.9
Bike riding
723.0
56.2
687.4
53.3
Watching TV or videos
1,248.1
96.9
1,262.4
97.9
Playing electronic or computer games
747.5
58.1
759.7
58.9
Art and craft activities
704.6
54.7
781.5
60.6
Reading for pleasure(b)
. .
. .
1,061.8
82.3
Total(c)
1,276.0
99.1
1,285.2
99.6
Persons
Skateboarding or rollerblading
817.4
30.9
604.5
22.8
Bike riding
1,686.1
63.8
1,644.8
62.1
Watching TV or videos
2,560.3
96.9
2,601.0
98.2
Playing electronic or computer games
1,818.9
68.9
1,870.5
70.7
Art and craft activities
1,170.7
44.3
1,311.2
49.5
Reading for pleasure(b)
. .
. .
1,981.0
74.8
Total(c)
2,618.6
99.1
2,641.5
99.8

(a) Outside of school hours during the past two school weeks prior to interview in April.
(b) Reading for pleasure was not included as a leisure activity in 2000.
(c) The sum of activities do not add to the total because some children were involved in more than one activity.

Source: Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2003 (4901.0).


Details about children's participation in organised sports and organised cultural activities are outlined in Children's participation in organised sport and Children's participation in organised cultural activities.

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