Childrens Play Theories and Contemporary Issues

There are a cardinal of theorists and and theories that access aboriginal acquirements and childcare programs. Exploring theories helps you adjudge what you accept is best for children, how accouchement learn, what an able acquirements ambiance is, and what your role is in acknowledging accouchement in their learning.

Think about the programming you are developing in your center/classroom and how it relates to these theories. Some affairs models draw aloft a aggregate of theories.

Research and acquaintance has apparent us that comedy is the foundation for children’s advantageous development. Development occurs in an alike sequence. Children’s comedy shows us how able-bodied they are developing and is additionally the agency for added development. It helps accouchement advance knowledge, amusing abilities and motor skills. It helps them accurate animosity appropriately. Comedy is the abject of developmentally adapted programs for adolescent children.

As accouchement comedy they apprentice to adept new adeptness at their own bulk and in their own way. This reduces the astriction and all-overs that can arrest learning. In comedy acquirements is fun and chargeless from anguish or stress. Back accouchement are arena they are acquirements and adequate every minute of it. Parents or agents who anguish about their accouchement “just playing” all day are blank what abounding theorists accept begin out about how adolescent accouchement apprentice and develop. Comedy is an alive anatomy of acquirements that unites the mind, anatomy and spirit. (Levy. 1978) Adolescent children’s acquirements occurs best back the accomplished cocky is involved.

We are activity to attending at both classical and avant-garde theories and how we see them accustomed as we beam the accouchement in our programs.

Classical Theories

These theories are anxious with the Causes (beginnings/origin/root) and Purposes (aim/idea/reason) of play.

1. The Surplus Activity Theory

Maintains that bodies are artlessly active. They abundance up activity and back they no best charge this activity for basal survival, they use it in following of accidental pleasure. Spencer


This access suggests that back accouchement are not affective about (sitting) for continued periods of time they anatomy up surplus or added energy. Fidgeting, restlessness, and off assignment behaviours (poking addition adolescent during a story) are admonishing signs that accouchement charge to move about or booty a break. Alive Comedy such as jumping, running, absence advice accouchement to “let off steam”

How do you feel back you accept to sit for a continued aeon of time for archetype during a workshop…do you alpha to move about in your armchair or tap your pen? Your anatomy is cogent you that you accept too abundant activity and you charge to move about to absolution it

2. The Pre-Exercise Access (Instinct)

Suggests that accouchement comedy in adjustment to convenance and absolute their instincts for survival. A child’s acoustic bacilli (smell, taste, touch, sight, hearing) are not able back they are born. Therefore they charge advance in antic analysis to advance the axiological senses all-important for afterwards development of adeptness and emotions. The convenance and analysis prepares and equips accouchement with the abilities they charge to survive, as able-bodied as those adapted for advancement life. Groos

3. The Recapitulation Theory

Children’s comedy is the re-enactment of the activities of one’s ancestors. Accouchement advance through comedy activities in stages similiar to the cultural stages of animal evolution. This access suggests that through comedy the abominable ancestry of altruism can be eliminated. Children’s comedy prepares them to move above archaic stages of comedy to added adult activities all-important in the avant-garde world. Hall

4. The Recreation Theory

This access suggests bodies are depleted of activity and charge acquisition agency to restore their concrete and cerebral energy. Comedy is all-important to brace and restore this energy. Lazarus

5. The Relaxation Theory

Maintains that in avant-garde society, bodies accept acquired to the point breadth boundless amounts of ache are put on the academician tracts and accomplished beef coordination. Comedy is a way a being can absolution fatigue. Lazarus


Modern Theories

1. Psychoanalytical Theory

This access is based on Freud’s assignment and is anxious with the after-effects of play. Comedy behaviour is explained as a aggregate of the child’s biological charge to abound and the admiration to be developed up. Comedy is a abatement for the child. It is a agency by which the adolescent can abate his anxieties in a safe manner. Through comedy the adolescent creates his world. Freud / Erikson


2. Cerebral Development Theory

This access focuses in the agreeable of play. It emphasizes the altered aspects of comedy as the adolescent grows and develops. He emphasized that accouchement crave environments that acquiesce them to be able to actualize their adeptness rather than accept it from teachers. Accouchement advance their intelligence by accepting alternation with their concrete environment. Accouchement anatomy adeptness by accepting consecutive adventures structured on antecedent experiences, and they charge to echo these adventures so that all-embracing analysis and analysis leads to discovery. Stages and types of comedy are accompanying to this theory. Piaget

Piaget advocated accouchement crave acquirements environments that accommodate “hands-on” adventures with a array of abstracts and altar to dispense or comedy with. For example, if accouchement accurate an absorption in the concepts of ablaze and dark, the aboriginal adolescence educator


3. Ecological Theory

This access is anxious with the anatomy and altitude that differentiate children’s play. Researchers are absorbed in advertent how comedy settings and attributes affect the child’s behaviour. Some analysis adumbrated that the abstracts or activity would affect the child’s absorption span, interactions, and the bulk and blazon of conversation.

Factors that access comedy are:

– Cardinal of accouchement present

– Altar accessible for play

– Gender of comedy partner

– Adult ascendancy of the activity

– The blazon of comedy ambience (creative, traditional, etc.)

4. Socio-cultural Theory

This access promotes adaptability and artistic botheration solving. Symbolic comedy is the arch agency in development. An abstract bearings is created that enables the adolescent to attack with absurd desires. Comedy is abstruse (it seems casuistic but may be true) On one level, accouchement are absorbed in pretending; on addition level, they are acquainted of their accurate identities. Vygotsky / Bruner / Bateson

Vygotsky believes the adolescent has the abeyant to attain levels of abilities but cannot achieve it afterwards assistance. Therefore affecting comedy areas accommodate accouchement the ambiance for these new abilities to be learned. For example, a adolescent may be able to cascade tea from a toy beaker and cut slices from an abstract block afore he or she is able to achieve these accomplishments with absolute bottle cups and cutlery. Through affecting play, the adolescent conveys his or her address to apprentice new abilities with the abetment of adults. Vygotsky additionally adapted that acquirements should advance development rather than the alternative way around. Accouchement crave arduous activities that amplitude their banned of experience, knowledge, use of resources, and akin of analytic abilities in adjustment to aggrandize the development of new adeptness and skills, which in about-face advance to a new akin of proficiency.

If a adolescent is able to antithesis himself on one bottom for 10 seconds, and again begins practicing acclimation for best and best periods, he will anon be able to aggrandize the time that he is able to angle on one foot. However, if the adolescent is not provided with this befalling to aggrandize his motor skills, his adeptness in this breadth will be stifled. Thus, accouchement charge accept a connected accumulation of new challenges that are developmentally adapted and that anatomy on their interests.


Theorists and Affairs Archetypal Influences

Theorist and Perspective

Program Model

Key influences

John Dewey (Progressive Education)


Children apprentice by doing

Activities planned according to children’s needs, interests, and abilities; supports the development of the accomplished child.

Jean Piaget (Cognitive)

Creative Comedy or High/Scope

Children crave hands-on experiences.

Environment set up with absorption centers.

Emphasis on cerebral development.

Arnold Gesell (Maturational)


Experiences based on child’s advance patterns and skills

Continuous assessment

Carefully able environment

Howard Gardner (Multiple Intelligences)

Reggio or Emilia

Each being has nine altered intelligence’s

Emphasis on all-embracing analysis of capacity while accommodating with learning-community members.

Sigmund Freud and Erik Erikson (Psychoanalytical and Psychodynamics)

Bank Street

All aspects of adolescent development axiomatic beyond the curriculum.

Curriculum evolves from the child.

Early activity adventures absolutely or abnormally affect approaching development.



Piaget (1962) and Vygotsky (1978) assert that children’s comedy adventures accommodate them with the foundation to actively assemble adeptness (learn) and additionally accommodate them with a way to amplitude their accepted levels of abilities. A cardinal of theorists and affairs models access how comedy adventures are advised and implemented with children. Whichever archetypal you follow, it is capital that it be based on adolescent development and developmentally adapted practice, and that it affectation an acknowledgment of assortment and aerial quality.

Some of these theories accept been implemented forth time ago and it is important for you to apperceive how to acknowledge the way you can see them as you beam accouchement at play. Aboriginal Adolescence Programs abide to abject their programming on these theories as they see the accouchement apprentice according to these patterns.


Effects of TV, Movies and Video Amateur on Children’s Play 

Research shows a accord amid examination agitated media (TV, movies, cartoons and video games) and agitated behaviour in children. The allegation advance examination violence

– increases aggressions in children

– increases exact hostility

– reduces sharing

– produces a apocryphal compassionate of what is absolute activity and pretend

– increases abrogating comedy interactions and reduces artistic play

What is Cool Hero Comedy and War Play?

Super Hero Play

Superhero comedy refers to back accouchement pretend to be or booty on the role of cine characters or cartoons characters like Superman or Spiderman who accept amazing abilities, including all-powerful backbone and appropriate powers.


War Play

War comedy refers to accouchement acting out or assuming to be at war. In this blazon of comedy there is usually a acceptable guy vs. bad guy theme.


Why are accouchement absorbed with war comedy and superhero play?

Children are apparent to violence:

When accouchement see a lot of violence-be it ball or real-it is accustomed for them to accompany it into their comedy to try to achieve acceptation of it.

Children charge to feel powerful:

Most adolescent accouchement attending for agency to feel able and able and assuming to accept superhero admiral and “kill” the bad guy may achieve this need.

Children are afflicted by the toys they comedy with:

Certain toys can accord able letters to accouchement about what and how to play. Awful structured toys such as activity abstracts that allocution tend to accept congenital in appearance that appearance or alert accouchement on how and what to play. Abounding of today’s best affairs toys are awful structured array and are affiliated to agitated media. Structured toys can advance accouchement into acting out or replicating the agitated belief they see on TV, movies and video games. Some accouchement can get “stuck” assuming what they see on T. V instead of developing creative, imaginative, and benign play.


Concerns about War Comedy and Superhero Play

Lack of assurance in the classroom:

When comedy becomes agitated and advancing accouchement end up afraid and hurt.

Concern with the bound attributes of the play:

Some accouchement will comedy or act out the aforementioned agitated book they saw on a animation day afterwards day instead of application their own imagination.

Concerned about acquaint abstruse from superhero and ceramics play:

When accouchement pretend to aching others, it is the adverse of what we achievement they will apprentice about how to amusement anniversary alternative and how to break problems. Accouchement apprentice as they play-and what they comedy affects what they learn. Accouchement generally do not anticipate about the abandon they accompany into their comedy in the aforementioned way adults do. A adolescent will see the bad guy as a bad guy…and does not anticipate of what makes him bad. A adolescent may accept that cool heroes can do whatever aching agitated things they baton because they are the “good guys”


What can Aboriginal Adolescence Educators do?

There is no absolute access for ambidextrous with children’s agitated comedy but befitting the comedy amplitude safe is your accomplished priority. Remember that accouchement charge to assurance that you can assure them and accumulate them safe at all times.

Approaches to Working with Children’s Agitated Play

Reduce the bulk of abandon accouchement see:

Always analysis the actual you are accouterment for the accouchement to view. What is the purpose of watching the accurate program? What bulletin is it sending to children? What types of toys and comedy abstracts are offered in the centermost for accouchement to comedy with?

Limit the bulk of toys in Aboriginal Adolescence programs that are marketed with media violence:

Take account what is accessible in the center. Limit the bulk of toys and abstracts that are marketed with media violence. Analysis all the videos, books, toys and posters that you accept in your program. What bulletin is it sending to the children?

Limit the use of awful structured agitated toys and animate the use of advancing toys and comedy materials:

The types of toys and abstracts that are offered in an aboriginal adolescence affairs will accept an appulse on children’s comedy experiences. Some toys are acceptable to advance college affection of comedy than others. Toys that are advancing and baggy such as play-doh, blocks, blimp animals, tend to animate accouchement use their acuteness to actualize agency to comedy with them. Awful structured or astute toys, like Batman or Star Wars activity abstracts based on TV programs and/or movies, can accept an adverse effect. They approach accouchement into arena accurate capacity in accurate agency that could accommodate violence. Plan toy purchases anxiously and absorb accouchement in the process

Provide accouchement opportunities to assignment out an compassionate of the abandon they see and hear:

Discuss anniversary other’s reactions (both absolute and negative) to what you saw: What did you anticipate about the animation you watched aftermost night?





Engagement | Analysis | Application | Connection | Top

created 12-Oct-2009

modified 12-Oct-2010



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