We organize the discussion around two main results derived from our analysis: a) differences in children’s involvement in daily activities according to sex and age-category, and b) the relative importance of different activities in relation to their potential for LEK acquisition.
Variations in Baka childhood activities
A main finding of our work is that, irrespectively of their sex and age category, most Baka children engage in household maintenance, a finding that has also been reported among other small-scale societies [11, 13]. Thus, from the earliest age, Baka children are expected to participate in household chores, for example helping their mothers with tasks such as collecting firewood, fetching water, and taking care of younger children. But, differently to what has been reported in farmer societies , Baka children are not expected to participate in income generating activities (although some of them do, especially after reaching adolescence). While such situation that has led some researchers to coin the notion of ‘children in paradise’ , Baka children do frequently engage in productive subsistence activities (i.e., hunting, gathering, fishing, and agricultural labor). Our ethnographic observations suggest that Baka children perform these subsistence activities mostly out of enjoyment, especially as these activities are often embedded in games . However, it should also be noticed that such activities seem to provide an important part of children nutritional intake during parental absences (for similar results in other settings see [39–41]). Thus, from early age, Baka children hunt birds or rodents and gather sub-spontaneous tubers, all products which typically are immediately cooked and eaten by the children themselves.
An important finding of our work relates to gendered differences of Baka children’s daily activities, a finding that dovetails with other studies both in farmer [37, 42] and hunter-gatherer  societies. The finding, however contrast with at least one study reporting few differences in the activities performed by girls and boys among the Aka, another hunter-gatherer group from the Congo Basin . Baka children do tend to reproduce adult’s same-sex activities. Thus, as Baka women, Baka girls are more involved in children caretaking, cooking, agricultural work and fishing than Baka boys. Similarly, as Baka men, Baka boys are more often involved in hunting than Baka girls.
In addition to gendered differences in frequency of engagement in certain activities, our results also suggest that there are additional differences in the way activities are practiced. For example, girls occasionally hunt. But they only hunt little mammals using their hands, the machete or, during adolescence, unearthing game with smoke. Boys, however, not only hunt more frequently, but they also use a broader diversity of techniques, such as bow and arrows, slingshot, spear and snares. Contrarily, fishing is more frequent among girls, who typically engage in collective fishing expeditions, in which a group of girls and women elevate dams in shallow rivers and extract the water to catch the fishes with their hands. Differently, although boys also fish, they are more likely to use poles or ichtyotoxics, techniques practiced generally alone or in small groups (for a similar finding see [Díaz-Reviriego I. et al., under review]).
It is worth noting, however, that while some activities are clearly gender-oriented, there are not strict gender exclusions in the performance of most activities. Thus girls and boys, as women and men, occasionally perform activities most commonly performed by people from the opposite sex. The flexibility in activity performance, beyond standard gender roles, is a common, but seldom noted distinction of hunter-gatherers versus farmers .
The study of children’s involvement in daily activities also shows that preferred activities change as children grow up. As Aka children , Baka children tend to spend less time playing and more time in productive and specifically in income generating activities (i.e., agricultural wage labor or commercial hunting and gathering) as they move into adolescence.
In sum, consistent with the Whitings’  predictions, the descriptive analysis of Baka children’s daily activities suggests that such activities are largely shaped by their specific cultural settings, although the sex and the age of the child are important factors that pattern children’s involvement in activities.
Knowledge acquisition through daily activities
We devote the second part of the discussion to analyze how the frequency of performance of different activities might shape LEK acquisition and to describe how such acquisition varies according to the age and the sex of the children.
First, as mentioned, subsistence related activities are predominant during Baka childhood. Additionally, most of the activities Baka children perform through all their childhood occur in their natural environment. We argue that the performance of such activities might directly contribute to local knowledge acquisition, and more specifically to the acquisition of local ecological knowledge. For example, during their youngest childhood, boys spend a considerable amount of time hunting and girls invest time fishing, allowing them to embody hunting and fishing knowledge. Time involved in both activities decreases once they become adolescents; however as knowledge is already embodied, adolescents are able to practice these activities even if they do so more infrequently.
Thus, an important aspect to consider when discussing LEK acquisition and the performance of daily activities relates to the variation, across the lifespan, in the use of techniques and practices of different complexity. Overall, the number of practices and the complexity of tools children use during their daily activities increases with age. Take the case of hunting. From the earliest age, children play various hunting-related games, such as shooting wheels or throwing spears to easy-to-target objects and animals. Then, during middle childhood they start to use popular hunting tools, such as the , or small replicas of the common snare with cable used by adults (called ). Differently, adolescents prefer hunting with spears or the collective hunting of small mammals using smoke. The case of gathering of wild edibles is similar. Even young children gather tubers of spontaneous agricultural plants, such as (Ipomoea batatas), and (Xanthosoma mafaffa), which typically grow around Baka villages. Differently, adolescents gather the leaves of (Gnetum africanum), an important component of the household consumption, or other forest products, such as mbalaka (Pentaclethra macrophylla),
(Baillonella toxisperma), or payo (Irvingia excelsa) which can be sold in local markets. Although gathering does not require many tools and techniques (except for some specific products such as honey and yams), effective gathering requires the acquisition of knowledge related to observation, the capacity to identify wild edibles, and the ability to navigate the landscape, abilities that also evolve across the lifespan. In sum, the analysis of children’s activities suggests that LEK acquisition seems to follow a ‘multi-stage learning model’, according to which children would first acquire basic knowledge and abilities that would allow them to progressively acquire more complex skills and knowledge .
One more point requires attention. Although the predominance of activities related to household maintenance might apparently underscore our argument of the importance of subsistence-related activities for LEK acquisition, we argue that the performance of these activities are key to obtain the cultural bases of adult’s livelihood and, therefore for LEK acquisition. Indeed, activities such as fetching water, collecting firewood, cooking, sharing meals, or even taking care of younger siblings, are considered by parents as key elements in Baka children’s learning process. Additionally, it is worth noticing that while conducting such household chores, especially those that take place in the forest, children also engage in other activities such as hunting birds, fishing, or gathering mushrooms. Adults clearly know that those tasks let children learn and practice on their own, alone or in groups of peers, skills that they would later need.
Our final point relates to the engagement in activities not traditionally performed by the Baka, such as schooling or listening to recorded music in bars . Consistent with previous studies, both among the Baka [45, 46] and among other hunter-gatherer groups [13, 47], we found that school attendance was very limited, but existent. Thus, for the school year 2012–2013, 54 % of the schooled-aged children were registered at school. However, school attendance was low, irregular, and decreased as the school year advanced. Reasons for this low attendance do not differ from those highlighted by Kamei  (i.e., teachers’ low level of commitment) and largely reflect the lack of fit between the national educative system and Baka’s livelihood. Our data also show that new leisure activities, i.e., listening to recorded music, were increasingly common among Baka children. From our ethnographic experience, we know that Baka children generally listen to African popular music during the evening when they might also drink alcohol. These activities, generally very common among all the Baka, are now included in the standard use of time of adolescents and young adults, as they seem to have become the new way of socializing and even of potentially finding a partner .
As such activities are new in Baka repertoire, we have no way to assess how their performance might affect LEK acquisition. Studies focusing on the impact of schooling on LEK have found that schooling might have a negative impact on LEK acquisition, unless schooling is adapted to the local social-environmental context . One could speculate that the case would be similar for the Baka. The work presented here, however, brings to the light that not only schooling, but also non-traditional leisure activities might impact the process of LEK acquisition. For example, activities that are mostly conducted at night, such as listening to recorded music in bars, might displace other cultural activities such as the performance of tales, songs and traditional dances, many of which begin as night falls . Interestingly, none of the previous studies on the erosion of LEK have addressed the impact of children’s involvement in new leisure activities in LEK acquisition. Such neglect is worrisome, especially if-as results from our study show-children devote more time to modern forms of leisure than to schooling.