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Barker, J. et al. (2014) Less-structured time in children's daily lives predicts self-directed executive functioning (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Executive functions in childhood predict important life outcomes. Thus, there is great interest in attempts to improve executive functions early in life. Many interventions are led by trained adults, including structured training activities in the lab, and less-structured activities implemented in schools. Such programs have yielded gains in children’s externally-driven executive functioning, where they are instructed on what goal-directed actions to carry out and when. However, it is less clear how children’s experiences relate to their development of self-directed executive functioning, where they must determine on their own what goal-directed actions to carry out and when. We hypothesized that time spent in less-structured activities would give children opportunities to practice self-directed executive functioning, and lead to benefits. To investigate this possibility, we collected information from parents about their 6-7 year-old children’s daily, annual, and typical schedules. We categorized children’s activities as “structured” or “less-structured” based on categorization schemes from prior studies on child leisure time use. We assessed children’s self-directed executive functioning using a well-established verbal fluency task, in which children generate members of a category and can decide on their own when to switch from one subcategory to another. The more time that children spent in less-structured activities, the better their self-directed executive functioning. The opposite was true of structured activities, which predicted poorer self-directed executive functioning. These relationships were robust (holding across increasingly strict classifications of structured and less-structured time) and specific (time use did not predict externally-driven executive functioning). We discuss implications, caveats, and ways in which potential interpretations can be distinguished in future work, to advance an understanding of this fundamental aspect of growing up.

Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
5
Page/s:
1-16
Synonyms:
  • Correlational
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Playful learning
  • Self-regulation
  • Executive function
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Bateson, P. et al. (2014) Playfulness, Ideas, and Creativity: A Survey (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This article investigates whether self-reports about playfulness are related to self-reports about creativity and the alternate uses of objects. An on-line survey was conducted of how people think about themselves. One thousand, five hundred and thirty-six people completed the survey. They were asked whether a variety of statements were very characteristic of themselves through to whether they were very uncharacteristic. Respondents were then asked to offer alternative uses for 2 different objects. Those people who characterized themselves as being playful clearly thought of themselves as being creative. The self-reports of their playfulness, creativity, and innovation were positively correlated with each other and were validated with their suggested uses for 2 different objects. Personality measures were derived from the respondents' self-assessments. On the openness scale, the measure was positively correlated with the respondents' assessments of their own playfulness and with the number of alternative uses for two objects.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
26
Page/s:
219-222
Synonyms:
  • Correlational
  • Creativity
  • Playfulness
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Cugmas, Z. (2011) Relation between Children's Attachment to Kindergarten Teachers, Personality Characteristics and Play Activities (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The purpose of this study was to develop the "observational scheme of child's free play in kindergarten" (OFP) and examine the associations between "child's attachment to his/her kindergarten teacher" (CAKT) and: (1) cognitive and social play behaviour, (2) child's contacts with his/her peers and teacher during free play session in kindergarten, and (3) child's personality characteristics. One hundred and one children (57.4% male) participated in the research. Children's ages ranged from 24 to 74 months (M = 51.4; SD = 12.0). Trained observers filled in the OFP, CAKT and the "inventory of child individual differences" (ICID). Play behaviour was observed at kindergarten during free play sessions of 60 minutes, and cognitive and social play categories were coded. Metric characteristics of the OFP appeared to be satisfactory. Results revealed significant correlations between children's secure and resistance attachment to their kindergarten teachers and cooperative play, the contacts with their peers and teachers during free play session in kindergarten and their personality characteristics. In future, it will be necessary to analyse the causational associations between discovered variables. (Contains 9 tables.)

Author/s:
Date:
January 2011
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
181
Page/s:
1271-1289
Synonyms:
  • Correlational
  • Peers play
  • Social play
  • Teacher/caregiver play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Erickson, S. et al. (2012) Differential ethnic associations between maternal flexibility and play sophistication in toddlers born very low birth weight (Journal Article)

Farver, J. et al. (2000) Within Cultural Differences: Examining Individual Differences in Korean American and European American Preschoolers' Social Pretend Play (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Individual differences in 30Korean American and 30 European American preschoolers’ play behavior were examined to understand how intracultural variations in children’s skills and behavioral characteristics may be associated with social pretend play in early childhood. Observers recorded the children’s social behaviors and play complexity. Teachers rated children’s social behavior, parents completed a child rearing question- naire, and children were given the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelli- gence–Revised and the Multidimensional Stimulus Fluency Measure. The findings showed that there were similar patterns predictive of pretend play for both groups.Over- all, children’s interactive style, positive social interaction with peers, and creativity scores significantly predicted pretend play. The results suggest that individual factors related to pretend play transcend culture.

Date:
January 2000
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
31
Page/s:
583-602
Synonyms:
  • Correlational
  • Creativity
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Language
  • Pretend play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Fehr, K. et al. (2013) Aggression in Pretend Play and Aggressive Behavior in the Classroom (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Research Findings: Pretend play is an essential part of child development and adjustment. However, parents, teachers, and researchers debate the function of aggression in pretend play. Different models of aggression predict that the expression of aggression in play could either increase or decrease actual aggressive behavior. The current study examined pretend play and classroom behavior in preschoolers. Children ("N" = 59) were administered a measure of pretend play, and teacher ratings of classroom behavior were obtained. Pretend play skills were positively associated with prosocial behavior in the classroom and negatively associated with physical aggression in the classroom. In particular, expression of oral aggression in play related to less physical aggression and more prosocial behavior in the classroom. Practice or Policy: These findings suggest that pretend play should be encouraged, as these skills relate to positive behaviors in the classroom. In addition, it was found that aggression in pretend play was not an indicator of actual aggressive behavior, as it related to positive behaviors in the classroom. Implications for parents and teachers are discussed. (Contains 2 tables.)

Date:
January 2013
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
24
Page/s:
332-345
Synonyms:
  • Affective behaviour
  • Correlational
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Play assessment
  • Pretend play
  • Social-emotional
  • Well-being outcomes
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Gilpin, A. et al. (2015) Relations Between Fantasy Orientation and Emotion Regulation in Preschool (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Research Findings: Emotion regulation is a strong predictor of both short- and long-term peer relationships and social competence and is often targeted in preschool curricula and interventions. Pretense is a natural activity of childhood that is thought to facilitate the development of socialization, perspective taking, language, and possibly emotion regulation. This study investigated whether fantasy-oriented children, who engage in more pretense, demonstrate higher levels of emotion regulation. Prekindergartners (n = 103) and teachers were given a battery of measures assessing children’s emotion regulation, fantasy orientation, theory of mind, and language. Results from hierarchical regression analyses indicated that children’s proclivity toward fantastical play (their fantasy orientation) uniquely predicted 24% of the variance in their emotion regulation skills over and above typical predictors: age, theory of mind, and language skills. That is, children who participated in more fantasy pretense demonstrated better emotion regulation skills than their peers. Practice or Policy: The present study suggests that future research, curriculum, and interventions should focus on targeting fantastical pretense to assess causal mechanisms of emotion regulation development. Teachers and parents should encourage children’s fantastical pretense, as research suggests it may be an important contributor to the development of critical socialization skills such as emotion regulation.

Date:
January 2015
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
26
Page/s:
920-932
Synonyms:
  • Affective behaviour
  • Correlational
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Pretend play
  • Social cognition
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Hirose, T. et al. (2012) Correspondence between Children's Indoor and Outdoor Play in Japanese Preschool Daily Life (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This study examined the correspondence between children's indoor and outdoor play in a preschool environment to investigate whether the children maintained a tendency to engage in a particular type of play irrespective of the environment, or whether they changed the type of play according to the environment. Play behaviours of 18 three-year-old and 20 five-year-old children were observed in both settings in an urban preschool in Japan. Various characteristics of play were examined based on cognitive play categories, social play categories, and types of objects used. The results indicate that children do not maintain fixed play behaviour without taking into consideration the play settings: their play differed greatly in accordance with the play setting. Not every child showed the same differences in play corresponding to differences in the setting. However, for each age group there was a qualitative difference based on the setting. For the three-year-olds, the "subject of interest" changed between settings, whereas for the five-year-olds, the "participation in society" changed related to the setting (indoor or outdoor). The "relation with the environment" was greater for both age groups in the outdoor setting. There were no significant sex differences. (Contains 3 tables and 2 figures.)

Date:
January 2012
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
182
Page/s:
1611-1622
Synonyms:
  • Correlational
  • Free play
  • Functional play
  • Indoor play
  • Outdoor play
  • Parallel play
  • Peers play
  • Physical play
  • Playground
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Hobson, J. et al. (2013) The relation between social engagement and pretend play in autism (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The focus of this study is the nature and concomitants of pretend play among young children with autism. Age- and language-matched children with autism (n= 27), autism spectrum disorder (n= 14), and developmental disorders without autism (n= 16) were administered the Test of Pretend Play (ToPP; Lewis & Boucher, 1997), with an additional rating of 'playful pretence'. As predicted, children with autism showed less playful pretend than participants with developmental disorders who did not have autism. Across the groups, playful pretence was correlated with individual differences in communication and social interaction, even when scores on the ToPP were taken into account. Limitations in creative, playful pretend among children with autism relate to their restricted interpersonal communication and engagement.

Date:
January 2013
Volume:
31
Page/s:
114-127
Synonyms:
  • Atypical development
  • Correlational
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Pretend play
  • Social cognition
  • Social-emotional
Research discipline:

Hoffmann, J. et al. (2012) Pretend play, creativity, and emotion regulation in children. (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The aim of this study was to examine relationships among pretend play, creativity, emotion regulation, and executive functioning in children. Pretend play processes were assessed using the Affect in Play Scale (APS), which measures children's cognitive and affective processes, such as organization of a plot or use of emotions. Sixty-one female participants, in kindergarten through fourth grade, were assessed using the APS to measure pretend play ability, a divergent thinking task (the Alternate Uses Test), a storytelling task to assess creativity, a measure of executive functioning (the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task, Short Form; WCST-64), and parent report on the Emotion Regulation Checklist (ERC). Using correlational analyses, pretend play significantly related to creativity as measured by divergent thinking and storytelling, and related to emotion regulation. Affect expression in play was significantly related to affect expression in storytelling suggesting cross-situational stability. Divergent thinking ability was significantly related to creativity in storytelling. In general the magnitudes of the correlations were of medium effect size. No significant relationships were found with executive functioning. The results of this study support theories that suggest play, creativity, and emotion regulation are linked.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2012
Volume:
6
Page/s:
175-184
Synonyms:
  • Affective behaviour
  • Correlational
  • Creativity
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Pretend play
  • Self-regulation
  • Social-emotional
  • Executive function
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline: