The Types Of Play Your Child Experiences At Daycare



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Children learn about their environment from infancy, and this goes hand in hand with how they interact with their surroundings. When they are ready to enter daycare, your little one will begin to interact with their world through different types of play, and this is essentially how they learn. Discover the different types of play children engage in, and what they mean for your child.

Types Of Play At A Glance

Most of the types of play can include solitary play, fantasy play, onlooker and parallel play, associative play, social and co-operative play, physical play, constructive play, and games play. This is not a closed list, but is most relative to the different types of play your child may participate in at daycare. Some types of play may overlap with others as well.

  • Solitary Play

    When kids begin to develop from their home environment to a more social environment like their daycare, they tend to first engage in solitary play. Essentially what this means is that your child tends to play alone using their imagination. This is not a bad thing as it’s important for children to be comfortable with themselves first, before they can be comfortable with each other.

  • Fantasy Play

    Often solitary play goes hand in hand with fantasy play whereby your child will use their rich imaginations to pretend that they are playing with other children, people or pets. Of course fantasy or imaginary play also links with social play, but more about that a little later.

  • Parallel or Onlooker Play

    When your child begins to feel more comfortable around the other kids, they may start to engage in play alongside other kids, but not yet with other kids. This can most likely be described as parallel play or onlooker play. Here, your little one is more intrigued with how other kids play and what they are playing with, rather than their own play. So your child may either not be playing at all and merely be looking, or they may be playing next to a peer, but by themselves. This is all ok – every type of play is fine, and children should not be pushed too hard too soon to be involved with a type of play they may not be ready for yet.

  • Associative Play

    Your child may also engage with associative play, playing alongside other kids, but not necessarily playing the same game or having the same goals in mind. This is still a great way for them to begin to play with other children and to prepare them for more interactive play with other children.

  • Social Play

    When children begin to feel more at ease with the other kids on the playground, they will begin to progress to social play. This is where they learn teamwork and how to interact with others. With this type of play, your child will play games with the other children, they will learn to give and receive, say please and thank you, and will learn communication and social skills. This can also be seen as co-operative play, as kids learn to co-operate with one another in a reciprocal setting.

  • Physical Play

    Physical play is where your child will use their muscles in active play, and in so doing develop nerve and brain function. The three correlate with each other, and using physical strength and activity during playtime will help with their overall motor-skills. This in turn fosters healthy brain activity, so it is very important that kids be given the opportunity to engage in physical play.

  • Constructive Play & Games Play

    On the intellectual side, constructive play and play involving games with rules are just as important. When kids construct imagined objects using building blocks, sand, or Lego, they are developing their conceptual, creative and intellectual skills through play. By participating in constructive play, kids discover how to construct things, what will work and what won’t, as well as develop their problem solving skills. Games play, on the other hand, children learn about the world and their place in it. This includes learning things like social rules, what is allowed and what isn’t, following orders, and obeying rules.

As you can see, children’s play is broad, and there is much to learn about children’s development stages, when looking at the type of play kids participate in at daycare. At Stone Brook Academy we care deeply about your child’s development and the types of play they may be engaging in. For more information on our center gives us a call at (763) 710-4478.

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