What are the different stages of play?
As one can expect, children at different ages do not all play the same
way. There are distinct stages that children go through as they grow.
Each stage is very important to the development of the next. While not
all children are the same and may not progress through the stages at the
same time, the following are common types of play grouped according to
your child's age:
Infant. Infants like to be entertained. As an infant grows, he or she is able to
play more purposefully with toys.
Toddler. A toddler enjoys playing independently with toys. He or she particularly
enjoys playing with toys that include body movement or noise.
Preschooler. A preschooler enjoys watching his or her peers and imitating others. There
is only some interaction while actually playing. Older preschool children
begin to borrow and lend toys. This age group often initiates make-believe play.
School-aged child. A school-aged child enjoys competitive games and sports, and formal board
games. He or she still engages in some fantasy play. Rules are important
during play with the school-aged child.
Adolescent. An adolescent enjoys competitive games and sports. The goal of this age
group is social contact.