Stages of play is a theory of children’s participation in play developed by a researcher named Mildred Parten Newhall in 1929.
She did a study and observed 3 to 5 years old children and documented what they play is like and what behaviors they have. She divided into six different types of play: unoccupied play, solitary play, onlooker play, parallel play, associative play and cooperative play. Different age involves in a different stage of play, they are improving step by step in every area of development. Children learned through play.Unoccupied play: In this stage, a child does not seem very interested in toys or exploring the surroundings. They just stay in one place or make a random movement.Solitary play: Child plays on their own and they do not care about other children around them.They play with toys independently and show no effort in making friends.
Onlooker play: This kind of play also known as the “spectator play”. At this stage, the child watches and shows interest in how the children are playing, however, the spectator child is hesitant to join.Parallel play: It is also known as adjacent play or social coaction. This happens when children play side-by-side.
Although it looks like there is very little contact between them, these children are practicing social skills and also learn from one another. Associative play: The child is becoming more interested in other children playing than the actual activity. This stage of play teaches the child how to share, encourages language development, problem-solving, and others.
The child begins to learn to play with others. They also learn how to share their play materials but may still be following their own “rules”.Cooperative play: The final stage of play when the child actively plays together. They also learn to work and make decisions together, accept rules, and form social bonds. This type of play is considered to be the highest level of social play by Parten.