Types of Play
Unoccupied Play: The infant is usually stationary, making random movements and no apparent purpose.
Solitary Play: The child (usually 2 - 3 years) is focused on their play, not noticing others.
Onlooker Play: The child will show interest in other children's play through observation, but may not become involved in the play. They'll learn and apply what they've seen later in their own play. It is most often a younger child observing an older child.
Parallel Play: Children (infants to preschool age) playing side-by-side with the same types of toys or activity, but not together.
Independent Play: This is playing with just yourself. This type of play teaches children to be independent and emotionally satisfied. It's important for all children of all ages to learn independent play.
Associative Play: This involves more social interaction rather then the use of a toy, for example, pipe cleaners become swords. It's common that one child directs the play of the group.
Cooperative Play: This play involves team work and organizational skills to accomplish a goal or task.
Benefits of Play
- Encourages the use of imagination
- Develop dexterity
- Develop physical, cognitive, and emotional strength
- Create and explore
- Learn to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts and to learn self-advocacy skills.
- Practice decision-making skills
- Learn leadership skills
- Encourages physical activity
- Social interaction: build enduring relationships
- Learn communication skills
- Adjust easier to school
- Learn readiness
- Learn problem-solving skills
Parten, M. (1993). Social play among preschool children.
Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 28, 136-147.
American Academy of Pediatrics link