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Play is an essential habit and all-time work for any child. We have never seen a child who doesn’t like to play. If the child hears the wordplay, they get new energy from all the directions and get energized to move along. Anything and everything a child does is a play. Play doesn’t have to be any specific form as jumping, running. Even observing a person is a kind of play. I want to share a different type of play the child goes through at different stages of early childhood. If we observe our children, they fall in any one of these categories. Based on their interest, we can create a space and encourage them to have a meaningful play. Are you interested in looking at different plays?
Different kinds of early childhood play
Please note: The list is not a kind of play idea which we need to enforce our child to pursue. But we can observe and understand the child in which playgroup they fall.
Random activity/play with no specific purpose. We can look at the infant stage, where babies look at things, move their body parts, shake them and feel happiness. Unoccupied play is the initial form of play, and babies love to do it for a certain period.
Children who fall in the age group of infancy to 15-18 months old do solitary play, where children play alone with any toys. Any other children who stay nearby go unnoticed. Sometimes older children also do this kind of play and get the benefit.
Onlooker play is a kind of play where kids observe other children without involving themselves. As I said above, observation is the primary role in onlooker play, and they learn from observation.
Toddlers of age 15/18 months to 3 years follow the parallel play. In this kind of play, children play side by side with less or no interaction and are engaged in their world of toys. Each of them aware of their surroundings and pleased by the company of nearby children. They are at the beginning stage of socialization.
Associative play starts at preschool age, where kids begin to play together. They may form a small group and share toys and build things by associating with each other. But cooperation is not much expected at this age.
Children with the age group of 4 to 6 years old start to have a cooperative play. They start to plan their activities, negotiate and share responsibilities. Kids are learning leadership and team-building skills from cooperative play.
Pretend play falls under dramatic play where they pretend to be others and use actions, which represents the pretend character. Dramatic play is more common at preschool age, and kids are developing imaginary skills and language development.
Constructive play starts at toddler age and goes for a longer time. At the constructive play stage, children build and create things. Kids learn visual-spatial skills, fine motor and math skills through constructive play.
Children express their emotions and feelings through art, music, writing. Kids develop creativity through expressive play.
Children use objects, actions to represent reality. For example, kids use a vessel and act as if it is a drum, Use a box as a vehicle, and do the moving action with it. Kids are developing their imaginary skills through symbolic play.
Physical play is the most favorite kind of play for the child. They love to run, walk, jump, climb, and whatnot. All these physical movements help the child to develop their body muscles and body coordination.
Play is a part of our life and play is more important for early development in kids. Allow them to explore the world of play through various forms. Children learn any sort of ideas and new concepts through play. Observe the child and understand at what type of plays they are involving themselves.