PULL ALONG TOY PROJECT Play Play is a natural and instinctive activity of all young, animals and humans alike, allowing them to develop the necessary skills for living and survival. A child uses play to learn and practise Physical, Intellectual, Language, Emotional and Social skills. Play enables children to find out about themselves and the world. It allows them to: Discover. Develop muscles. Learn how other people behave. Experiment. Invent. Role-play. (pretend to be somebody else). Create. Learn new skills. Show off. (children like to let others know Concentrate. Share possessions. what they can do). Express ideas. Use imagination. Act protectively towards someone less Develop speech. Co-operate with others. powerful than themselves. Types of Play. The kind of play a child carries out can be broken down into different types; Exploratory Play. Encourages children to explore their own world, to see, hear, touch, and taste new things. Construction Play. Discovering how things work and what properties they have. Energetic Play. Practising new physical skills as the body develops and control is refined. e.g. walking, running. Modelling. Imitating behaviour observed in older children and adults. Pretend Play. Acting out situations in a safe environment. Sometimes the child can find a solution to a problem. Social Play. Learning about mixing with other people and forming social relationships. Skilful Play. Practising finely controlled small movements or complex sequences of activities. A child normally combines more than one of these activities in their play at one time. Giving a toy to a child that is much too advanced for their stage of development causes frustration often resulting in anti-social behaviour. Play prevents boredom, reduces stress and helps divert aggressive instincts. If a child is left to play on their own, they will repeat the same or previously learnt activities or skills. They need help to take the next step forwards. Adults can use toys, games, books, etc. to set up situations in which the child can learn and practice new skills. A child who is ill stops playing, when they get better their level of play is behind that of a child of a similar age. This is because they were not learning when they were not playing. They will catch up in time. Children do not learn well without the help of adults but if too much time is spent playing with the child, the child will feel bored and miserable when left on their own. Then, instead of playing happily, the child will spend their time trying to demand attention. Stages of Development. 15 - 18 months. Children begin to fit objects together as well as taking them apart. They walk alone with wide uneven steps with arms held out for balance, They cannot steer nor avoid obstacles and usually stop by sitting down. Push or pull toys are valuable at this stage to aid balance, but push toys are better as the child can see the toy when it moves. Posting boxes and simple inset puzzles are popular. 18 months - 2 yrs. Children like to play on their own but like company near-by. They can build 2-3 brick towers and nesting pots and can squat to pick up toys. They walk smoothly and faster and begin to run but cannot avoid obstacles. They try to join in nursery rhymes. By 24 months a child can see everything an adult can see including colour. (Major changes occur to the child in this period.) 2 years - 30 mths. Children spend much of their time running around and can avoid obstacles, walk backwards to pull toys and guide small toys on strings by deliberate movements. By now they can scoot on sit-on toys, unscrew lids and string beads. They play alongside others, talk to themselves, imitate adults, listen to stories and join in nursery rhymes. Toys that turn, move and can be pulled are enjoyed. From 30 months children begin to show an understanding of colour, red and yellow at first followed by blue and green. 30 months - 3 yrs. Children can climb in, on or under objects and can kick and throw a ball with limited accuracy. They watch others playing and briefly join in. They begin to match jigsaws by shape and picture and by 2-3 colours at a time. Toys that encourage pretend play are popular and they increase their ability with construction toys. (These stages are for the average 50% of all children, the other 50% are either more advanced or slower. They are also basically similar for all children throughout the World.) Reference Sources. 1. Early Learning Centre. Information Pack. 2. Practical Guide to Child Development. Vol. 1 by V. Reynolds. 3. Child Care and Development. by P. Minett. 4. All About Children. by D. Baldwin. 5. The Developing Child. by H. Bee. Definitions. Toy. Plaything especially for children. Thing meant rather for amusement than for serious use. (an object to be played with for fun). Game. Spell of play. Contest played according to rules and decided by skill, strength or luck. Play. Amuse oneself. Employ oneself in a game. Pretend for fun. Scope for activity. (exertion of energy for the purpose. of amusing oneself) Amusement. Pleasant diversion. Activity. Exertion of energy. Leisure. Opportunity to do. Free time. Time at ones own disposal. Skill. Ability to do something well. Development of Social Play. Children progress through various stages of the development of social play; Solitary Play. Playing alone. Parallel Play. Playing alongside others but not with them. Looking-on Play. Watching from the edge of the group as other children play. Joining-in Play. Playing with others by doing the same thing as everybody else. Co-operative Play. Belonging to a group and sharing in the same tasks.