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Definition

Object play involves playing with any type of objects (building blocks, pots and pans, junk materials, stones, food) to explore them, sort them or make or construct something (a model, a pattern, a den). Object play is different from 'pretend play' when it is more concerned with the object, its properties and what can be done with it, rather than what it can represent.

See also: Functional play, Exploratory play

Berkhout, L. et al. (2012) Observation Instrument of Play Behaviour in a Classroom Setting (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The objective of this study was to develop an instrument to observe the play behaviour of a whole group of children from four to six years of age in a classroom setting on the basis of video recording. The instrument was developed in collaboration with experienced teachers and experts on play. Categories of play were derived from the literature and daily practice in Dutch classrooms (i.e. sensory, motor, construction, make-believe play and arts-and-games). Analysis of the video with the help of the observation instrument showed that the between-observer reliability was almost perfect. The simple and clearly structured instrument may be used by teachers or in teachers' education.

Date:
January 2012
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
182
Page/s:
1325-1333
Synonyms:
  • Object play
  • Physical play
  • Play assessment
  • Pretend play
Relevant age group/s:

Bruce, T. et al. (2008) I made a unicorn. Open-ended play with blocks and simple materials (Report)

Abstract:

Open-ended play with blocks and simple materials

Although children's play just happens spontaneously, it is complex and comes in myriad forms.
One universal type is open-ended play, also known as free-flow play, in which the children themselves determine what to do, how to do it, and what to use. Open-ended means not having a fixed answer; unrestricted; allowing for future change. In the course of such play, children have no fear of doing it wrong since there is no correct method or outcome; and observant adults are privileged with insights into children's development and thinking.

Open-ended play is intrinsic to childhood; children have an impetus to explore and create. When free to experiment with the simplest materials, they find ways to express and develop their thoughts in imaginative play.

Date:
January 2008
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Learning
  • Object play
  • Outdoor play
  • Pretend play
  • Well-being outcomes
  • Construction play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Cook, C. et al. (2011) Where science starts: Spontaneous experiments in preschoolers’ exploratory play (Journal Article)

Abstract:
Date:
January 2011
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
120
Page/s:
341-349
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Exploratory play
  • Object play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

DeLoache, J. et al. (1985) The Development of Error Correction Strategies in Young Children's Manipulative Play (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The focus of this study was the strategies used by young children between 18 and 42 months for correcting the errors they made as they attempted to nest a set of 5 seriated cups. In the process of combining the cups, the children committed numerous errors (such as putting a cup that was too large on a smaller cup), and they tried to correct the majority of those errors. Detailed examination of the children's correction attempts revealed that the strategies they used changed substantially with age, becoming increasingly more flexible and involving more extensive restructuring of the relations among the cups. Earlier correction attempts tended to focus on a single, nonfitting cup or on a single relation between 2 cups. Later-appearing strategies involved the coordination of relations involving several cups. The same trend toward increasing flexibility of thought and action also appeared in the procedures the children used to combine the cups. This study thus documents a finely graded series of cognitively significant changes in children's constructive activity during a period that has been poorly differentiated by cognitive developmental research. In so doing, it demonstrates the usefulness for problem-solving research of analyzing how subjects go about trying to rectify their own mistakes.

Date:
January 1985
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
56
Page/s:
928-939
Synonyms:
  • Cross-sectional
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Exploratory play
  • Functional play
  • Object play
  • Problem-solving
Research discipline:

Dender, A. et al. (2011) Development of the Indigenous Child-Initiated Pretend Play Assessment: Selection of play materials and administration (Journal Article)

Abstract:

BACKGROUND/AIM: There is a need for culturally appropriate assessments for Australian Indigenous children. This article reports the selection of culturally appropriate and gender-neutral play materials, and changes in administration identified to develop further the Indigenous Child-Initiated Pretend Play Assessment (I-ChIPPA).
METHOD: Twenty-three typically developing children aged four to six years from the Pilbara region in Western Australia participated in the study. Children were presented with four sets of play materials and frequency counts were recorded for each time the child used one of the play materials in a pretend play action. Twelve of the 23 children came to play in pairs.
RESULTS: Both boys and girls used the Pilbara toy set including the dark coloured dolls and Pilbara region animals, more frequently than the standardised play materials from the Child-Initiated Pretend Play Assessment (ChIPPA).
CONCLUSION: This study reports the first steps in the development of the I-ChIPPA. Future development will include the refinement of the administration and scoring with pairs of children, and then validity testing the assessment.

Date:
January 2011
Volume:
58
Page/s:
34-42
Synonyms:
  • Cultural context
  • Object play
  • Play assessment
  • Pretend play
  • Symbolic play
Relevant age group/s:

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

Fallon, J. et al. (2013) Free play time of children with learning disabilities in a noninclusive preschool setting: An analysis of play and nonplay behaviours. (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Some children with disabilities go to special preschools where adults help them play. The adults who work in preschools sometimes ask occupational therapists for advice to help children play more. Occupational therapists need to know how children play when not helped by adults. This study videoed children playing both with lots of toys and without toys to see how they chose to play. Within the Republic of Ireland, young children with learning disabilities may attend special preschools where they do not share any part of their day with typically developing children. Within these settings, preschool staff support children's play. Clinicians such as occupational therapists may be called upon to assist in progressing their play. To provide appropriate recommendations, occupational therapists must have a clear understanding of what play a child with learning disabilities engages in when not supported by adults. Occupational therapy literature described play as the most common occupation of children with a focus on process‐driven activity. This may be at odds with a model of early intervention, where play is often product‐driven, with the end goal in mind. The aim of this research was to establish what free play, if any, children with learning disabilities engage in when not supported by adults in an Irish preschool setting. Secondly, this study sought to describe what behaviours these children engage in when they were not playing. Finally, this study sought to establish inter‐rater reliability of the Revised Know Preschool Play Scale with this small sample. Systematic observation was used to explore the play and nonplay behaviours of the children involved. A convenience sample was used to identify five children to participate in the study. Results indicated that children engaged in free play within the sensory motor stage of development, as assessed using the Revised Knox Preschool Play Scale. They also spent significant time in nonplay behaviours. The behaviour patterns of the children and time spent in different activities were explored. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved). (journal abstract)

Author/s:
Date:
January 2013
Volume:
41
Page/s:
212-219
Synonyms:
  • Atypical development
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Engagement
  • Exploratory play
  • Free play
  • Object play
  • Playfulness
  • Pretend play
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Fawcett, C. et al. (2012) Mimicry and play initiation in 18-month-old infants (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Across two experiments, we examined the relationship between 18-month-old infants' mimicry and social behavior - particularly invitations to play with an adult play partner. In Experiment 1, we manipulated whether an adult mimicked the infant's play or not during an initial play phase. We found that infants who had been mimicked were subsequently more likely to invite the adult to join their play with a new toy. In addition, they reenacted marginally more steps from a social learning demonstration she gave. In Experiment 2, infants had the chance to spontaneously mimic the adult during the play phase. Complementing Experiment 1, those infants who spent more time mimicking the adult were more likely to invite her to play with a new toy. This effect was specific to play and not apparent in other communicative acts, such as directing the adult's attention to an event or requesting toys. Together, the results suggest that infants use mimicry as a tool to establish social connections with others and that mimicry has specific influences on social behaviors related to initiating subsequent joint interactions.

Date:
January 2012
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
35
Page/s:
689-696
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Object play
  • Play with other adult
  • Social cognition
  • Social play
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Feda, D. et al. (2012) Effect of increasing the choice of active options on children's physically active play (Journal Article)

Abstract:

bjectives: To determine whether increasing the choice of physical activity options increases the duration and intensity of children's physically active play. Design: This cross-sectional laboratory study included gender (male and female) and choice group [single toy (no choice), three toys (low choice), five toys (high choice)] as between participant factors. Methods: Boys and girls (. n=. 36, 8-12. y) were stratified, randomly assigned to a choice group that always provided access to each participant's most liked active toy(s), and allowed 60. min of free time. The same sedentary alternatives were freely available to all participants. Physical activity outcomes were measured by accelerometry, heart rate, and direct observation. Results: The number of active toys the children played with increased (. p<. 0.001) across each choice group. Minutes spent in MPA were greater in the low choice (. p<. 0.05) and high choice (. p<. 0.02) groups than the no choice group. Active playtime was greater (. p<. 0.01) in the low choice (79%) and high choice (95%) groups compared to the no choice group. Girls in the low and high choice groups had greater (. p<. 0.05) percent heart rate reserve when compared to girls in the no choice group. There was no difference in the boys' percent heart rate reserve between the no choice, low choice and high choice groups. Conclusions: Increasing the choice of active toys increases both the duration and intensity of physically active play, especially in girls. © 2011 Sports Medicine Australia.

Date:
January 2012
Volume:
15
Page/s:
334-340
Synonyms:
  • Experimental
  • Free play
  • Object play
  • Physical health
  • Physical play
  • Well-being outcomes
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Foundation, . (2015) Building children's writing skills through learning through play (Video Recording)

Abstract:

The University of Cambridge and the LEGO Foundation has explored how learning through play helps children develop better writing skills.

You can read about the project in more detail here: https://goo.gl/Wk9aef

Author/s:
Date:
January 2015
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Literacy
  • Object play
  • Pretend play
  • Semiotic play
  • Social play
  • Symbolic play
  • Construction play
Relevant age group/s: