PREVIOUS: Childhood Play – Forms, #1
SITEs: Science & Human Play
FORMS of PLAY in Childhood (cont.)
2. EMOTIONAL / Psychological
Attunement Play (P) – when a connection is being formed between newborn & mother, as she makes faces & funny noises, tickles, rubs, sings….. AND as the infant makes eye contact with mother, causing a mutual surge of joy.
This can be seen on EEGs…: the right cerebral cortex, which organizes emotional control, is “attuned” in both mother & infant
Quiet P – activities useful when the child is tired or needs ‘down time’ but not sleep. Can often be conducted in one place, such as looking at books, working with blocks, coloring, finger painting, using play dough…..
Constructive P – psychologically, the child is able to form something new from available materials, which gives them a sense of accomplishment & empowerment – that they can be in control of or have an effect on their environment
Deep P – allows the child to face risky or even potentially life-threatening experiences, to develop survival skills & conquer fear (rock-climbing, para-sailing, jumping from a platform in a harness….)
Symbolic P – allows child to be in control, gradually exploring & increasing its understanding without the risk of being out of their depth (educational video games, virtual driving practice, ‘scuba diving’ in a pool or shallow pond….)
3. MENTAL / Artistic
Imaginative, Fantasy or Socio-dramatic Play – ‘rearranging’ reality as the child pictures it, where conventional rules that govern the physical world do not apply.
Somewhere in the preschool years, children begin using make-believe to invent scenes & act them out – “dress-up, doctor, restaurant, princess, pirate…”. In early ages they usually play alone, with dolls & may have imaginary companions, but sometimes with adults.
Later they incorporate other children. (See “Social Play”) Creative Play allows for new responses, transforming information, becoming aware of new connections, & an element of surprise
First Pretend Play: Typically 15 – 21 mths.
It’s when children use a toy copy of an object or person – usually a doll – the way they would the real thing (pretend-feed with spoon, comb hair…). Piaget believed this kind of play was an important indicator of a child’s capacity to use symbols
Substitute Pretend P: Between ages 2-3 children start using objects to stand for something altogether different, such as a carrot-&-stick as imaginary violin-&-bow.
This type of P. is key for innovation, creativity & nourishing the spirit. In a risk-free environment, as children grow, there will be many opportunities to practice developing needed abilities
However, deprivation & trauma inhibit or prevent learning many of the following skills:
• able to practical using coping tools which come from trying out new roles & possible situations, learning to take turns, co-operate, share
• develop abstract & flexible thinking, to understand & use amounts, numbers, place, symbols, time…. (essential knowledge in an ever-more technological society)
• experiment with language, use new words or word-combinations to express ideas, concepts, dreams, emotions & histories
• stretch the imagination to create beyond the here and now
• form a sense of how others think, & learn how to function in the greater community, which helps to understand & trust others
Communication P – children who are comfortable manipulating objects & materials also become good at manipulating language, ideas & concepts. They play using words, puns, debates, jokes, poetry, nuances. ALSO with gestures, mime, making fun of, play acting, singing…..
Narrative P – storytelling is how most kids love to learn, & is considered the unit of human understanding, so is important to healthy early development.
It teaches about other places & societies, develops the intellect, makes sense of the world & one’s particular place in it, passing on tradition while indirectly teaching social mores & values.
NEXT: Child Play FORMS – #3