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11 Important Types of Play for Children

A child's play fosters relationships with them and with others. Play reduces stress and promotes happiness. Children learn empathy, creativity, and collaboration through play. Play helps develop strength, resilience, and grit. 

 

Parents might often wonder what are the types of play? What is the process of play? What is the first level of play? All these questions might be confusing but don’t worry, we got you! Lack of opportunities for children to play can adversely affect their development. Parents or adults usually sideline the importance of play but it is deemed very important for child development!

In this article, you will learn:

  • What are the benefits of play?
  • What are the different types of play?
  • How do you encourage parallel play?
  • What is the process of play?
  • What is the first level of play?

 

What are the benefits of play?

You might be wondering what are the benefits of play? Well,the act of playing nurtures one's relationships with oneself and others. Playing relieves stress and makes one happier. It fosters empathy, creativity, and collaboration among people. It builds toughness and grit. A child's development can be hampered significantly if he or she is deprived of the opportunity to play. 

 

  • Play gives children the opportunity to develop their cognitive, physical, communication, and social/emotional skills. In contrast to worksheets or screen time, they practice and reinforce these skills in a unique way.
  • During play, children become actively involved in their environment. As a result, children are less likely to become obese.
  • A child's play is a natural stress reliever and an outlet for the release of anxieties and fears.
  • The child's play allows them to test out new ideas and build upon their past experiences.
  • Through play, children begin to make connections between their choices and their natural consequences.
  • Play promotes the development of self-control, which is essential for success in later life. Kids play because it's their way of learning about the world. 
  • When they play, they have the opportunity to regulate their emotions, delay gratification, and learn

 

What are the different types of play?

You might be wondering, what are the different types of play? There is a widespread misconception that toddlers only play one or two ways, such as with toys or with another person

 

Below are the stages children go through as they grow in social interaction. At each level, communication and language skills become more complex. Play helps children develop language skills, physical skills, emotional skills, and social skills. Develop learning and skills in kids with wonderLearn learning toys and also download free wonderLearn mobile app for more.

Unoccupied Play

Unoccupied play is the first stage of play. The age group is from birth until three months, primarily. This kind of play most likely does not appear to be play at all. Unoccupied play occurs when babies observe their environment or make random motions that don't appear to have a purpose. It paves the way for more play exploration in the future.

Solitary (Independent) Play

When your youngster is playing alone, this is known as solitary play. This form of play teaches toddlers how to entertain themselves, which is one of the first steps toward independence. Independent play is another name for this style of play. A child engages in independent play when there are no other children present. Your baby is moving into the independent play stage when they can interact with toys, such as grabbing a rattle.

Onlooker Play

When a child engages in onlooker play, he or she simply observes other children playing and does not participate in the activity. They may also be watching what you or other adults are doing. Children between the ages of two and three often engage in onlooker play, which is especially common among younger children whose vocabulary is still emerging.

Parallel Play

The children play side by side but do not communicate or share toys with each other.  Playing 'side-by-side' rather than 'with' the other kids nearby is what the child is doing.  At this stage, a child can play alone, but the activity he engages in is similar to the activity that other children around him are engaged in.       

Associative Play

It consists of no organizational structure.  Even though children play independently, they share the toys and other items they play with.  Although there is no direct communication between the children beyond sharing toys, this level indicates the child's awareness of other children.

Cooperative Play

All of the stages come together in cooperative play, and children genuinely begin to play together. This is the most common style of play in groups of kids this age and up, or in younger preschoolers who have older siblings or have been around a lot of kids. It usually begins between four and five years of age.

Competitive Play

Your child's social development is dependent on the stages of play. Once a kid has progressed to the cooperative play stage, they may begin to experiment with other sorts of play. These also aid in the development of social, cognitive, and physical abilities.

Constructive Play

Constructive play teaches children how to manipulate, build, and connect objects. Building with blocks, Legos, or magnetic tiles, constructing a road for toy cars, or constructing a fort out of couch pillows are all examples.

Dramatic Play

It's a dramatic or fantasy play when your children play dress-up, school, or in a restaurant. Your child's creativity is exercised while they work on language development through this form of play.

Physical Play

Throwing a ball, climbing a play structure, riding a bike, or playing a game like tag are all examples of physical play. Fine motor skills are developed through this form of play. Physical play encourages children to improve their fitness and enjoy physical activities.

Symbolic Play

Vocal activities, drawing, coloring, counting, or playing music are all examples of this form of play. Children learn to express themselves and process their experiences, thoughts, and emotions through symbolic play.

 

How do you encourage parallel play?

These activities may seem like they're just for fun, but they also help your child learn. Parallel play is often avoided by parents - after all, it does not appear natural. In spite of this, research has demonstrated that parallel play can have a significant impact on human development and can be very beneficial for certain skill sets. Read on to discover. How do you encourage parallel play?

Identify the stages of play

Play will become more varied as your child grows. All stages of your child's development are valuable, and they will shift between them daily.  Remember solitary play is still important even as children get older.

Encourage them to discover

 When children believe that it's their idea, they'll probably be more enthusiastic. Use comments and questions that will make them want to play with you rather than asking them to play with another child. The process of asking and answering questions is a great way to develop executive function skills in children.

Provide examples of activities that can be done

 Displaying will usually have a greater effect than telling. Make things out of playdough with the children and see if they join in.

Play with each other

Humans of all ages find it difficult to share. Encourage children to take turns by using parallel play. Create a game around it.



What is the process of play?

Different forms or categories of play can overlap; they are not mutually exclusive. In addition, a child's interest may change throughout the play period, so choices are important, since an activity that appeals to one may not appeal to another. What is the process of play? What is the first level of play? Children of all ages can benefit from an understanding of play in its various forms.

 

Physical play 

Physical play includes active play, such as running, jumping, and playing games like tag, hide-and-seek, and chase. These activities are social because they involve other children. Additionally, physical activity is essential for a child's development.

 

Expressive play

Playing with materials is a way for children to express themselves. In order for parents to take part in the expressive play, they should use the materials along with their children, such as tempera paints, finger paints, watercolors, crayons, and colored pencils.

 

Dramatic play

 It is common for children to act out scenarios that they believe will occur to them, that they are fearful will occur, or that they have witnessed. Children in hospitals may benefit from therapeutic play that is either spontaneous or guided.

 

Familiarization

 A child handles materials and explores experiences in a rewarding way. Children can be prepared for potentially painful experiences, such as surgery or separation from their parents, by becoming familiar with them.

 

Games

One child may play video games or card games alone. Young children seldom play games with rules. Younger children tend to like games that allow them to change the rules. These are the answers to what is the process of play!

 

FAQ’S on Types of Play in Kids

 

Q.1. What are the 6 different types of play?

  • Solitary Play

This type of play is also known as independent play.  In independent play, a child plays by themselves without any other children present.

 

  • Spectator Play

This level of play is also known as watcher play.  The child observes other children playing but doesn't participate in the activity.  Observation is a valuable skill for children to learn.  Children can demonstrate their attention and awareness skills through this play level.   

 

  • Parallel play

The children play side by side, but do not communicate or share toys with each other.  Playing 'side-by-side' rather than 'with' the other kids nearby is what the child is doing.  At this stage, a child can play alone, but the activity he engages in is similar to the activity that other children around him are engaged in.       

 

  • Associative Play

It consists of no organizational structure.  Even though children play independently, they share the toys and other items they play with.  Although there is no direct communication between the children beyond sharing toys, this level indicates the child's awareness of other children.

 

  • Cooperative Play 

The final stage of play takes place in groups.  During this stage, children play together, share toys, and communicate with each other.  In addition, they participate in highly structured play activities.

Q.2. What is a play and its elements? 

Different forms or categories of play can overlap; they are not mutually exclusive. In addition, a child's interest may change throughout the play period, so choices are important, since an activity that appeals to one may not appeal to another. What is the process of play? Children of all ages can benefit from an understanding of play in its various forms.

 

Physical play- Physical play includes active play, such as running, jumping, and playing games like tag, hide-and-seek, and chase. These activities are social because they involve other children. Additionally, physical activity is essential for a child's development.

 

Expressive play- Playing with materials is a way for children to express themselves. In order for parents to take part in the expressive play, they should use the materials along with their children, such as tempera paints, finger paints, watercolors, crayons, and colored pencils.

 

Dramatic play- It is common for children to act out scenarios that they believe will occur to them, that they are fearful will occur, or that they have witnessed. Children in hospitals may benefit from the therapeutic play that is either spontaneous or guided.

 

Familiarization- A child handles materials and explores experiences in a rewarding way. Children can be prepared for potentially painful experiences, such as surgery or separation from their parents, by becoming familiar with them.

 

Games- One child may play video games or card games alone. Young children seldom play games with rules. Younger children tend to like games that allow them to change the rules. These are the answers to what is the process of play!



Q.3.How do you initiate a play?

Play led by your child means following their lead. As a parent, this means watching your child closely and responding to whatever she says or does in order to keep her focused for a little longer.

It is a good idea to follow your child's lead because your child learns best when he is interested in something. When you play with your child, you can take advantage of things that interest him to help him learn something new.

Additionally, when your child leads, she learns how to communicate and influence others.

 

Q.4. What are the benefits of play? 

Play gives children the opportunity to develop their cognitive, physical, communication, and social/emotional skills. In contrast to worksheets or screen time, they practice and reinforce these skills in a unique way.

 

  • During play, children become actively involved in their environment. As a result, children are less likely to become obese.
  • A child's play is a natural stress reliever and an outlet for the release of anxieties and fears.
  • The child's play allows them to test out new ideas and build upon their past experiences

 

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