Footnote(s): (a) Proportion of children aged 5-14 years.
(b) Children who attended cultural venues or events, or participated in organised sport, in the 12 months prior to interview.
Source(s): ABS Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities 2006 (cat. no. 4901.0)
Children's participation in culture and leisure activities, including organised sport and physical activities, is an important part of a child's social development and the development of motor coordination skills, teamwork and physical fitness (ABS 2009e).
There was an increase in the participation rate of children (aged 5-14 years) in organised cultural activities from 30% in 2003 to 34% in 2009. In relation to organised cultural activities, the proportion of children playing a musical instrument rose from 17% in 2003 to 20% in 2009, while the proportion who participated in dancing rose slightly (from 12% to 14%). Dancing was the most popular organised cultural activity for girls, but the least popular with boys. For boys, the most popular organised cultural activity was playing a musical instrument.
Since 2003, the most popular leisure activity for boys has been watching television, DVDs or videos (around 98%). In 2009, this was followed by other screen based activities such as computer games (87%). For girls, the most popular leisure activity since 2003 was also watching television, DVDs or videos (around 98%). In 2009, this was followed by homework or other study (85%). There was a rise in the proportion of children undertaking computer activities outside of school hours, with the proportion accessing the internet increasing from 47% in 2000 to 79% in 2009 (ABS 2001a; ABS 2009b).
Participation in organised sport outside of school hours increased slightly between 2000 to 2003 from 59% to 62%, but remained relatively stable between 2006 to 2009 at around 63% (ABS 2009b). Participation in organised sport increased with age through the 5-10 year age group, but then noticeably decreased for those aged 10-14 years.
In 2009, the most popular sport for boys to participate in was outdoor soccer (20%) followed by swimming (17%). For girls, the most popular sport was swimming (20%), then netball (17%). For boys, a similar pattern was seen in both 2000 and 2003, however, the pattern was reversed for girls - netball was the most popular sport followed by swimming in 2000 and 2003.
In 2009, there was a decrease in participation in bike riding as a leisure activity, from 68% in 2006 to 60% in 2009 (ABS 2009b).
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