Six Stages of Play: Part II

Six Stages of Play: Part II

In our previous post, we went over the first three stages of play for infants and toddlers, which were unoccupied play, independent or solitary play, and onlooker play. These three types of plays are generally done alone, which can help children develop a sense of independence and where they can learn how other children interact and play with each other. These stages are an incredibly important foundation to set for the remaining stages: parallel, associative, and cooperative play.

Parallel Play

This is a great transition between playing alone and observing; and parallel play is the first step of learning how to play with other kids. When your child is playing at the table with another kid, but there is little interaction, this is parallel play. They may even be playing with the same toys, but they are simply playing beside one another. The benefit of this stage is that they are learning how to share. Playing with blocks, for example, they can build a tower together, but they can’t fight over the same block.

Associative Play

Think of associative play as together, but separate. Your three-year-old will be playing with other kids, but the activity isn’t focused on achieving a common goal. More focus will be put on the social aspect of play, rather than actually finishing the tower of blocks. Child development toys that are great for this stage are art activities, Legos, and erector sets — games that can be done alone, but together.

Cooperative Play

Now, children playing together may have more of a common goal, such as kids playing sports together. They’ll experience teamwork and will interact with each other to accomplish a specific task. This final developmental stage is essential to being successful later on. Socializing and working together in school, whether it’s a group project or a school play, allows children to fully understand the importance of teamwork.

From unoccupied play as an infant, onlooker play as a young toddler, to cooperative play as an older kindergartner, and beyond, playing has a significant role in the development of children.

For parents who want to see their child be successful, Children Smart Toys has a collection of child development toys that will aid in each stage of play. We have built our selection of toys with the hope of providing both parents and children with the tools they need to have fun while learning. Even though your children may not realize that they are learning, you know that with each kick of the ball or even each toss of the rattle, they are developing skills that will carry them through their educational years.

Some of our favorite child development toys include this Early Learning Castle Construction, which is perfect for independent or associate play. Simply let your kids go and they will use their imagination to keep them entertained. Another is this Wooden Numbers Puzzle House, which is a great introduction to shapes, numbers, and will help increase fine motor skills. And another is this Musical Animal Farm Piano, which is fun to play with and teaches your child the names and sounds of animals.

Shop for your favorites today and enjoy watching your child have fun learning.