The Different Types of Child's Play

The Different Types of Child's Play

We all know the value of play when it comes to children. It helps them grow and develop, uses their creativity and develops their physical, cognitive and emotional skills.
Sir Ken Robinson, a ‘Creativity Expert’ explains that “The simple act of free, self-initiated play helps unlock a child’s innate creativity, imagination, interests and talents.”

But these essential skills go far beyond childhood and extend in to later life too.  John Goodwin, CEO of the Lego Foundation, explained that helping kids play more “will equip them to be relevant to the workplace and to society.”

What are the different types of child's play?
But play is a complex issue, taking many forms. If you’re a parent keen to learn more about this subject, here’s just a few different types of play to look out for:

  • Onlook play

Some kids learn by copying or observing others. This goes hand in hand with onlook play, where children stand back to observe what’s going on around them. This is common in younger children.

  • Parallel Play

If your child goes to nursery you might have heard your keyworker talk about this. Simply put, parallel play is where children play side by side with each other. Sometimes together, but often on their own. This is especially common in younger children around 2 or 3 year’s old, it’s viewed as an important step to the later stages of play. From baby toy cars to soft balls, see how your child plays alone and with friends.

  • Cooperative Play

This is particularly common in pre-schoolers whose social skills are more developed, It involves children coming together to play with each other collectively. It might be a game of chase, or learning to build a puzzle together. Either way, it helps set the stage for future play.

  • Imaginative Play

Thanks to our changeable weather (and fierce snow earlier this year), Brits have a lot of experience in this, thanks to endless days spent indoors! Creative play can include all forms of bringing imaginations to life, from drawing to painting, as well as playing with water, or learning to knit! The foundations of this type of play help children to express their feelings through a different outlet, and to communicate and share their personality.

  • Dramatic play

Sometimes known as pretend play, it can involve dressing up, role play and storytelling. It helps inspire imaginations and bring some emotion to play, including relationship building and the all-important art of negotiation. Valuable life skills to learn. So, next time your child asks you to pretend to be a customer in their made-up restaurant, smile gleefully as they pile all kinds of interesting objects on their kids plate!

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