Kids love playing because it is enjoyable, but it is also essential for a child’s healthy growth. Children learn and practise important social, cognitive, organizational, physical, and emotional abilities, such as creativity, imagination, and problem-solving, through play.
Learning to take turns, fine motor skills, proprioception (awareness of one’s body in space), and getting along with people are all honed through seemingly simple activities like rolling a ball back and forth with a sibling or putting on a costume.
Mildred Parten’s research outlined six different types of play that children engage in based on their age, temperament, and social situation, as well as the ways in which children learn and connect with one another when playing.
Given below are 6 stages of play described by Parten:
1. Unoccupied Play
Unoccupied play is most common in newborns between the ages of three and six months. This is the first stage of play, and it most certainly does not appear to be play to the untrained eye.
Parents don’t have to do anything special to encourage this type of play; newborns do it naturally. Allowing babies to explore unrestrictedly, even if it’s simply wiggling their hands and feet in the air, is critical.
2. Solitary play
Solitary or independent play is vital because it teaches a youngster how to enjoy themselves, paving the way for them to become self-sufficient in the future.
Any youngster can play independently, but by the age of two, this style of play is common. It is most common in youngsters aged two to three years old.
3. Onlooker play
When a youngster passively observes other children playing and does not participate in the activity, this is known as onlooker play.
Onlooker play is widespread among toddlers aged two to three years old, and it is especially popular among younger children who are still learning their speech.
Through this play, kids are learning about how other kids play and interact as a result of this, and they are preparing for their eventual participation in such group play.
4. Parallel Play
This happens when kids are playing near each other but aren’t really interacting.
If you put two 3-year-olds in the same room, you’re likely to witness them having a good time, playing side by side in their own little worlds.
It doesn’t imply they don’t like each other; they’re just playing at the same time. This style of play starts around the age of two and varies from playing together in that neither child tries to control the other’s play.
5. Associative Play
Associative play, which typically begins between the ages of three and four, is similar to parallel play in that it involves children playing separately from one another. They are, however, immersed in what the other is doing in this kind of play—imagine toddlers building a city out of blocks. They converse and engage with one another while they construct their separate structures, but they are largely working on their own. By the age of five, this type of play is usually over.
All of the stages come together in cooperative play, and children genuinely begin to play together. This is the most common style of play seen in groups of older preschoolers or in younger preschoolers who have older siblings or have been around a lot of children. It usually occurs between the ages of four and five.
Play is an essential element of a child’s development that should be promoted and supported. However, keep in mind that toddlers require their own time and space in order to master these skills, which will emerge on their own. Parents should not intentionally teach their children the lessons they learn from play. Instead, the beauty is that youngsters discover these treasures while playing their games, all while having a good time.
Online Montessori school like Real School is the best place that helps develop all these skills in your kid at an early age and hence prepares him for the competitive world outside.
Also Read : What is the social learning theory?