Using Visual Q-Methodology to Explore Danish Children’s Outdoor Play Preferences


  • A. Christine Hempel


visual Q-methodology, environmental affordances, play preferences, outdoor play, child-friendly cities, landscape perception


The aim of this pilot study was to gain new understanding about what types of outdoor play experiences children prefer, and the environmental qualities that enable these activities. Using an application of visual Q-methodology, children ranked their preferences among a set of paintings depicting play scenarios. Factor analysis revealed four distinct typologies of children, each of whom respond to different environmental affordances: Nurturers, Active Children, Creators and Forest Children. Findings suggest that this innovative method is an effective and enjoyable technique for gaining insights about the environmental affordances that foster play in natural and urban settings, from the subjective perspectives of diverse groups of children.