Development kinds of social play

As children grow older, play becomes more social, influenced by brain maturation, playmate availability, and the physical setting. In 1932, the American sociologist Mildred Parten described the development of five kinds of social play, each more advanced than the previous one. Parten thought that progress in social play was age-related in that younger children engaged in the less advanced social play and older children engaged in more advanced social play. However, contemporary research finds much more age variation. See if you can recognize the five patterns of social play in these scenarios.

1) Jill and Hannah are playing in a sandbox at the par Jill is building sandcastles, and Hannah is making a lake. Jill asks Hannah if she can use the shovel, and Hannah gives Jill the shovel. What type of social play is represented?

2) In a child-care classroom, a group of children play a board game on the floor Evan stands across the room and watches the group of children. What type of social play is represented?

3) A group of children from the neighborhood gathers in Nico’s front yard. They decide to play a game of kickball They determine where the bases will be and pick teams. The children begin playing kickball. What type of social play is represented?

4) Gemma and Camilla are riding bikes in the pa Holly rides in one direction, and Libby rides in the other direction. What type of social play is represented?

5) André is building a block tow He is so absorbed in what he is doing that he does not notice the group of boys behind him who are building a fort out of blocks. What type of social play is represented?


Many developmentalists believe that play is the most productive as well as the most enjoyable activity that children can undertake. Whether play is essential for normal growth or is merely fun is a point of debate. The controversy underlies many of the disputes regarding preschool education, which increasingly stresses academic skills. Consider the following hypothetical situation.

You learn that a preschool program for children ages 3 to 5 wants to eliminate all free-play time so that children can spend more time working on spelling, reading, and math. The program currently allows 2 hours of free-play time, both inside and outside, throughout the 6-hour day, but if the programming changes, children will no longer have this opportunity. You are currently in a developmental psychology class and have just learned about the importance of play for children.

To educate the public on this topic, you decide to write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper. (Note: You will not actually be sending the letter to the editor.) Write a one paragraph letter to the editor (half a page or so) identifying at LEAST SIX main points about the importance of play in the letter. Note- Points will be taken off if you do not follow instructions on format.

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