Developing social play
Why is it important?
All children go through a process of social play development. These stages are outlined below:
Early play tends to be solitary, where the child is happy to be on their own and direct their own play without needing to be concerned about others
At this stage children play side by side without interaction. They may watch other children and make some attempts to make contact. Towards the end of this stage, they may begin to cooperate with other children, e.g. share toys.
This is the stage where children are beginning to be able to interact with each other. They are able to play together, share toys and take turns in games. The increasingly co-operative nature of the play provides opportunities to practice using language for different purposes including arguing, questioning, explaining and directing what other do.
Children with communication difficulties may find more advanced social play difficult. Adults may need to encourage children to develop the whole area of social play as it is crucial to their development in society. It is important to support these children through the different levels of social play development and only move through these stages when the child is ready.
To learn more about the relationship between language and play follow this link:
This checklist from Talking Point describes the typical stages of speech and language development, including social skills / play.