In this article, I address the concept of critical coalitions in play from two perspectives. First, I consider young children’s art making with digital video through contemporary play frames that propose moving beyond the dichotomy of subject (child as actor; active meaning-maker) and object (child as dupe; susceptible to media and moral panic). This reaffirms that play is at once contradictory, pleasurable, fantastic, and culturally purposeful. Analysis of young children’s digital video as play within frameworks proposed by Wilson (1976), Walkerdine (2007), and Freud (1922/1948) allows for an expansion of philosophical ideas about young children’s art making. This coalition between art and play might also expound upon pedagogical ideas about both and their roles in young children’s (and adults’) lives. Complementarily, I propose that playing with children as a research approach has implications for pedagogy in early childhood art education.


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