Since this time many social scientists have developed models for types of play

Since this time many social scientists have developed

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Since this time many social scientists have developed models for types of play and the changing role of play as children develop into adults. The Role of Play Activities The definition of play, listed below, is a synthesis of current research on children’s play. Hodgkins (Childhoods Domain, 1986, p. 13) identifies four developmental stages which help children understand the world around them: Enactive Development: The actual use of an object Innovative Play Structures Research Project August, 2001 Page 6
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Iconic Development: The investigation of a model or drawing (a representation) Symbolic Development: The modification of real objects into language and abstraction Interpersonal Development: The communication of all these ideas with others Children must move through these stages of perception as they grow. These stages are all nourished by the environments children experience, from home to school, and especially, the place of free thinking and association – the playground. Children grow and change through these developmental stages by interaction with the world and each other. Researchers have identified four types of play that provide children with the experiences they need to grow and develop: 1. Cognitive Play or Creative Play Type of play activity where ideas are tested and the environment is manipulated. This type of play is a key factor in the development of imagination and logical thinking. Activities can include: digging, molding, shaping, constructing, demolishing, discovering, changing. 2. Active Play or Physical Play Type of play where physical skills are honed and developed. This type of play is crucial to the growth of a child’s body and mobility. Activities can include: balancing, coordination, endurance, strength, depth, speed, accuracy, stillness, patience. Innovative Play Structures Research Project August, 2001 Page 7
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3. Group Play or Social Play Type of play where the dynamics of human interaction and relationships is developed. This type of play is a key factor in the development of interpersonal skills and identity. Activities can include: group play, talking, laughing, pretending, acting, learning from others, leading, following. 4. Individual Play or Quiet Play Type of play where the sense of self-reliance and identity are pondered and realized. This type of play is crucial to developing private and personal views and to developing identity. Activities can include: daydreaming, sitting, thinking, observing, imagining. It has been recognized that children need to engage in all four types of play in order to grow as people and enjoy the time of childhood. As James Garbarino, of the Erikson Institute for Advanced Study in Child Development, states: Child’s play is distinguished from adult games in that it is not the basis for any work or production. It is geared to fantasy as a vehicle for processing experience, testing hypothesis about self, and the world and just plain having ‘fun’ (The Ecological Context of Play, p. 17).
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