Thursday, June 28, 2012

Changes in Children's Pretend Play Over Two Decades: More Imagination

There is growing recognition that children have less time to engage in play, and, concurrently, recent evidence suggests a decrease in divergent thinking ability in young children. This study investigated changes in pretend play ability during a 23-year period. The conclusion: Even though children have less time to play, cognitive processes that occur in play are continuing to develop.

The same standardized measure of pretend play, the Affect in Play Scale (APS; Russ, 199331. Russ , S. W. ( 1993 ). was the measure of pretend play in all studies. This puppet play task is videotaped and scored from the tapes. Fourteen studies of children from 6 to 10 years of age in school-based samples from 1985–2008 were included in the analyses. A cross-temporal meta-analysis examined correlations between weighted mean scores and year of data collection. Main findings were that imagination in play and comfort with play significantly increased over time. There was no evidence of change in organization of the story or in overall expression of affect in play.

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