4 Social Play

Children playing with tires and sticks

READ FIRST– The resource below will provide an overview of social play in early childhood.

CHOOSE TWO– Select at least two of the resources below to extend your understanding of how young children develop social play across early childhood.

  • Jean Piaget by Play and Playground Encyclopedia (~ 5 minute read)

Learn more about Piaget, a developmental psychologist whose theory influences many early childhood practices today. Piaget identified four stages of cognitive development as well as three stages of play tied to children’s social development.

  • Lev Vygotsky by Play and Playground Encyclopedia (~ 5 minute read)

This selection highlights Vygotksy, a Russian psychologist. His work focused on how children develop understanding of social cultural ideas through their interactions. Vygotsky identified two key ideas that influence early childhood practice: the Zone of Proximal development and scaffolding.

This resource provides an overview of key aspects of children’s social emotional development and how these ideas connect to Parten, Piaget, and Vygotsky’s ideas about children’s play.

Here you can learn more about Parten’s ideas about children’s development of social play during early childhood as well as how children develop the ability to share with others.


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