6 Stages of Play in Child Development

6 stages of play

Hello and welcome, folks! We think of games as entertainment only for children, but that is not so. Yes! Children learn a lot through play, which has different stages from birth to 2 years. The most important thing that play is essential for children is their language development. Children learn words through play. Children’s analytical brain starts working through play. It will strengthen their language, academic, communication, and problem-solving skills. The first research on children’s play was done by Mildred Partin Newhall, an American sociologist from the University of Minnesota Who introduced six stages of child play. During his research, he proved six stages of child development. Children’s games seem meaningless to us, but these games are helpful.

Charles E.Shaefer quote about playing that is wholesome “we are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing”

Joining the game with my children, I felt the teenage energy in myself. And, who knows! A hidden childhood game will wake you up, and you will be excited to fulfil this passion of yours again.

So, let’s start to dig into the nitty-gritty of 6 stages of play development.

So, what are the six stages of play development? 🤔

According to a psychologist, along with children’s development, their play style also changes. With time, these games play an essential role in their intelligence and academic and social activities.

Unoccupied play! 0 – 3 months👼

It is the first stage of your child’s play also known as new born stage. Read about when does newborn stage end.  We see children randomly moving their arms and legs, but this is not the case. This movement of hands and feet helps them understand and adjust to the environment. This stage begins immediately after birth. They have been in the mother’s womb for a long time; this movement of hands and feet and looking around helps them adapt to the environment. Babies play unoccupied until the end of the newborn stage. In this game, you have to make your child lie on a mat, or I often lie on the bed in the beginning so that there is no pain in their feet. Because most kids like my Jack kick his feet a lot these days, I find it best to lay him down on the bed. At this stage we try to teach our baby tummy time but sometime baby hates tummy time. Read why your baby hates tummy time.

Solitary play! 0-2 years🏀

Children at this stage prefer to play alone. This phase starts from 3 months to 2 years, at this stage your little one try crawling. there are seven stages of crawling. All three of my kids love playing with blocks and boxes at this stage. According to my mother, children also make imaginary friends at this stage. Have you ever felt children smiling at a particular place or talking to their imaginary friends while making yes sounds from their mouths? Relax, my lady, this is common in all children.

Children adapt to their environment and explore the surroundings in this stage, increasing their cognitive and problem-solving skills. So, those games seem random to us, but nature has placed a purpose in them.

Onlooker play! 2+ years👀

In this stage, children watch other children play. And sometimes they start playing together with them. But his favourite thing to do at this stage is to watch the movements of other children. At this point babies learn to sit up. Since John was my first child, he had less time with children, so that I would take him to daycare or the park at this stage. Jack’s relatively slow life seemed slow. Since Mary and Jack were his older siblings to play with, he used to look up to his elders at this stage and try to do the same. An example of this is that I taught John how to count from 1 to 10 sometimes by watching the tab or the TV, which I had to pay attention to regularly. But Mary started humming the tone of 123 when he heard John speak to himself when he had yet to begin to speak complete sentences. Research shows Children’s play and learn each other behavior and skill. and many of us buy car seats, high chairs and stroller. Read when can baby sit in a high chair.

Parallel play! 3.5 to 4 years🤸⛹️

In this stage, children improve their social relationships. They play with each other but rarely communicate. They have their own toys and just enjoy each other’s company. In this phase, I have felt the children’s communication skills improve, and along with this, I have also seen the children’s feelings of compassion. After reading about the benefits of parallel skills, I used to arrange a swimming pool party or a cake party for my siblings’ children in my house to play with other children. She used to invite her neighbours’ children to improve her social and communication skills so that my children’s social skills could be polished. At this stages my boy Jhon try to convince me that he wanna sit in front seat. Here is the complete detail what is the height and weight to sit in front seat so you can decide when to give permission to your child.

Associative play! 3 to 4 years👋

Children in this stage like to work in teams. They respect each other’s boundaries. They share different toys and play with each other, but their goal is still their own. This step should be done so that children of the same age are allowed to play with different toys for some time.
In this stage, children play creative roles. For example, as a child, I loved playing teacher. I was always a teacher, and my sister was a student. In this stage, children also create their favorite characters, playing together for the same purpose. For example, Mary and John create shopkeepers and doctors, their favorite cartoon characters. The most beautiful thing about this stage is the language skills and the learning process. In this stage of play, children develop many skills that promote their social activities.


Please keep in mind that every child is unique and had  super powers these are the stages of childs play development. children learn, grow and nourish through playing, so if sometime your little one do some mischief please control your anger and frustration. Play is very important for them. And I believe if you give them proper freedom about playing they will grow and their skills polished.

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