Different types of play
Play is very complex and below are listed some of the 15 definitions of the play types.
Where children have access to lots of different creative media and tools, where there is plenty of time and where getting messy isn’t a problem.
Communication play includes name-calling, mime, mickey taking, jokes, facial expressions, gestures, poetry, rhymes.
Weininger, O (1980) 'at play children are constantly talking and thus practicing their vocabulary.'
Children playing in front of traffic, riding a bike on the parapet of a bridge or through a fire, high tree climbing. Play where the stakes are so high it is irrational to engage in it.
A dramatisation of parents taking children to schools, of a TV show, of a conversation between two people, of a religious or festival event, even a funeral.
Engaging with an object or an area, and either by manipulation or movement, assessing its properties, possibilities and content. Putting one thing into another, putting shape blocks into shape box, or toys in a house; stacking and making spatial configurations.
When children play at pilot flying around the world, as an owner of an expensive car, or as the catcher of a giant fish. A child rearranges their play to link the imagined objects and situations to the tangible and visible things of the real world.
Patting a dog that isn’t there, eating food that doesn’t exist, or singing into a non-existent microphone.
To chase, tag, hide and seek, off-ground touch and tree climbing, galloping, swinging, climbing.
Fire play, digging holes, changing the course of streams, constructing shelters and growing things.
Hendrick, I. (1942) 'an inborn drive to do and learn how to do, an urge to master the environment'.
Examination and novel use of almost any object. For example, a ball, a piece of cloth, even a live animal.
The child brushes with a broom, dials a telephone, drives the car. A child plays out particular sequences of events.
Rough and tumble
Playful fighting, wrestling and chasing, where children involved are laughing and squealing and obviously enjoying themselves.
Building or painting something together, co-operatively moving/carrying something. Team games.
Playing at house, going to the shops, being mothers and fathers, organising a meal or having a row. The child imitated situation and takes on the roles of certain people.
Using an object like a piece of wood to symbolise a sword, person or flag.
These definitions were taken from ‘The First Claim’ Play Wales.
More detailed descriptions can be found in, Hughes, B. (1996a) ‘A Playworkers Taxonomy of Play Types’ London: PLAYLINK.
Last updated: 21/09/2023 13:08