Advertisement

Parten's Stages of Play

Working in the 1930s, researcher Mildred Parten grouped play into six categories and determined that children’s play styles mirror their social development. These stages are identified as:

  1. Unoccupied -- Not engaged in play.
  2. Solitary (Independent) -- Playing separately from others, with no reference to what others are doing.
  3. Onlooker -- Watching others play. May engage in conversation but not engaged in doing. True focus on the children at play.
  4. Parallel -- Playing with similar objects, clearly beside others but not with them (near but not with others.)
  5. Associative Play -- Playing with others without organization of play activity. Initiating or responding to interaction with peers.
  6. Cooperative Play -- Coordinating one’s behavior with that of a peer. Everyone has a role, with the emergence of a sense of belonging to a group. Beginning of "team work."
  7.  

Advertisment