I. Functions of Play
II. Pretend or Imaginary Play
1. Starts at around 2 years of age
2. Children make people or objects things that they really are not (also referred to as
a. Child pretends to be a monster.
b. Child uses seashell as a cup.
4. Some studies show a relationship between very low predispositions to fantasy
play and antisocial behavior or susceptibility to delinquency
III. Mildred Parten’s Study of Play (1932)
1. Parten and her colleagues observed groups of nursery school children and
identified six (6) social categories of play)
2. Types of play
a. Unoccupied play
i. The child is not engaging in play.
ii. The child may stand in one spot and look around.
iii. He/she may engage in random movements that do not have a goal.
b. Solitary play
i..Child plays alone with his/her toys.
ii. Most of the play before two years of age is this type
c. Onlooker play
i. The child watches other children play.
ii. He/she may engage in talking to the other children, but does not
participate in the play.
d. Parallel Play
i. Children play side by side with similar toys.
ii. They usually do not interact.
e. Associative play
i. Children play separately
ii. They share toys and they interact
f. Cooperative play
i. Children play together in an organized activity.
ii. There is often a common goal.
iii. Not much, if any, cooperative play is seen in the preschool years.