[Paper spotlight] Indigenous Children’s Play in the Brazilian Amazonia

This chapter by Gosso and colleagues in the edited volume Children’s Play and Learning in Brazil examines children’s play in a Parakanã village.

Abstract: This chapter presents a short portrait of physical, demographical, economic, and social aspects of the Brazilian Amazon region and of the presence of indigenous groups in the region. The relative scarcity of the available Child Anthropology and Child Psychology literature and particularly of quantitative studies on indigenous children’s play is highlighted. A detailed quantitative description of children’s life and play activities in one Parakanã village and comparisons with similar available information on other peer cultures are presented and complemented with a qualitative description of play in other Amazonian indigenous groups. Similarities of peer cultures across different Amazonian indigenous groups are pointed out, and their awareness of nature and knowledge about the environment around the villages are emphasized as conspicuous aspects of these cultures. Play behavior among indigenous children seems to have functional value not only for their future life, as usually pointed out in the literature, but also for the quality and viability of their childhood.