A large portion of children’s and adolescents’ time in the United States is devoted to discretionary or leisure activities outside of normal school hours; some estimates suggest they spend half of their waking hours in these activities. Historically, society has held a somewhat negative view of the importance of these out-of-school activities. However, research over the past 25 years has led to a shift in society’s and scholars’ view of out-of-school activities. There is now widespread recognition that out-of-school activities play an important role in promoting child and adolescent learning.
This entry first provides a clear definition of out-of-school activities, then looks at approaches researchers have taken to study these activities. Next, the participation patterns of youth in out-of-school activities are investigated. Finally, what children and ...
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