How do Children Play?

December 17, 2018

When we see children playing, we don’t tend to think much about what they are actually doing. Whether it’s pretending to be princes and princesses or building the Lego version of their hometown, different types of play all have one thing in common: they are all important for children’s development.

For instance, children can engage in solitary or independent play. This teaches them a valuable lesson in keeping themselves entertained, which would eventually lead to greater self-sufficiency.

Another type of play is onlooker play, which very young children tend to do in order to grasp the mechanics and develop the vocabulary required to join the older children in the game. It might also be out of shyness at times.

Other forms of play that feature playmates are parallel play and associative play. During parallel play, children play side-by-side but do not necessarily have anything to do with each other. Associative play, meanwhile, features independent activities with a common goal. This is observable when children build cities using blocks together; they might not be actively playing with each other, but it requires a certain amount of communication and cooperation to pull it off.

Child’s play as we know it is called cooperative play, and it is touted as the best way to teach social skills such as sharing and turn-taking. This is seen in activities such as dramatic or fantasy play in which children get to tap into their imagination and step into different roles for the duration of the game, competitive play which teaches children how to win and lose gracefully, physical play which develops their gross motor skills, constructive play which stimulates children’s cognitive skills, and symbolic play which could develop children’s ability to express and explore their experiences, ideas and emotions through graphic arts, voice, counting, or music.

Even seemingly idle time spent doing random movements with no apparent objective could be considered as playing; this prepares children for play exploration and is commonly called unoccupied play.

Whatever a child’s play preferences may be, it is important for them to be in a safe, conducive environment where they can be themselves and receive the support they need to grow and blossom into well-adjusted adults.

Reference: Rock, A. (2018) Important types of play in your child’s development. Very Well Family.

Leave a reply
Extending ESLian Hospitality to Foreign Language LearnersESL Grateful Goodwill 2018

Leave Your Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *