The 6 Stages of Play in Early Childhood
Kids should encounter six different stages of play leading up to cooperative activities with others. Each stage should help with the development of skills and lead to a kid who can thrive in social activities without causing any problems. Below are the different stages a kid should go through :
- Unoccupied Play – Kids mainly explore their environment. No rules or structure to it; it’s random exploration. The learning is done through individual interaction with the objects and people they encounter.
- Onlooker Play – Kids take more of a spectator role; they should watch other kids playing with objects but not interact with one another. Social interaction is learned via observation.
- Solitary Play – Kids should choose to bring their own toys near other kids but not interact with others.
- Parallel Play – Connecting closely to Solitary Play, kids should still be playing in close proximity with others, but not interacting with each other. They should be given the same kind of toys in Parallel Play, e.g., building blocks, to create a sense of equity.
- Associative Play – This type of play introduces social interaction. Kids are put in groups for a collaborative activity that has no common objective to work towards. This may be painting, building, throwing and catching a ball, or playing around with sensory contents.
- Cooperative play – Kids start to collaborate towards a common objective, like creating something. This is known as collaborative play. A great example is an art project. Some kids may gather the supplies and design what the project should be while the other half carry out the instructions.
The six stages of play are critical to the development of kids and should lead to a stronger sense of social skills. Implementing these stages into daily activity should help the process go a lot quicker and more efficiently.