Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : This paper examines recreational activities in children’s free time, as a component of their wellbeing in a socio-ecological framework. Data comprise semi-structured interviews, conducted with 50 parents and 33 school professionals, within four contrasted areas of the Brussels-Capital Region—with regard to their economic affluence and availability of green areas. Families’ perspectives and practices in terms of children’s recreational activities are presented in relation to contextual (availability of parks and playgrounds; access to recreational services) and individual factors (families’ socioeconomic and cultural profiles). They are then compared with the perspectives of school professionals. Concerning families, our results primarily show that all families reported using parks and playgrounds with their children. Besides, if many experienced some barriers to access recreational activities, their perspectives on the benefits of such services varied widely. Three main profiles of families, regarding their use and perception of recreational activities, were identified: users, involuntary non-users, and voluntary non-users. These perspectives were only partly similar to those of school professionals. Finally, recreational activities are discussed in relation to some major macro-level issues, such as social inequalities, accessibility to services, choice, as well as public policies in relation to children’s free time.