A Study on What Makes Young Children Happy

Yonghee Hong,Haejeon Kim,Wooyong Jeun
page. 47~70 / 2016 Vol.10 No.2


The purposes of this research were to understand children’s perception of happiness and to proposesuggestions for improving the level of happiness based on children's needs by analyzing individualinterviews about what makes them happy and why. The subjects of the study were 163 children agedthree to five at two kindergartens and one daycare center in Seoul, South Korea. Research resultswere as follows. First, they indicated living things (human, animal, plant) and inanimate things(plaything, school supply/book, tool/machine, accessory, food, property) as the objects that makethem happy. The most frequently indicated objects that make children happy included plaything (toy)(31.9%), human (12.3%), school supply/book (10.6%). Secondly, the reason why specific objectsmake children happy was because those objects provided satisfaction with desire for play, emotionalsatisfaction, practical satisfaction, esthetic satisfaction, satisfaction with desire for creation, andmoral satisfaction. The most frequent reason regarding why they become happy was because theycould play with playthings, and felt fun or good when they play. The identified playthings that makechildren happy and satisfy their various needs were those which they could easily find at home and inthe early childhood institutes. Such results suggest that children's happiness could be positivelyinfluenced by the setting where they could freely play while interacting with meaningful things.

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