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Classifications of social patterns used by children

PLAY Information ….


There are 6 basic classifications of SOCIAL PATTERNS used by children. They are:

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1. UNOCCUPIED BEHAVIOR: The child is not involved in any particular activity. He/she just observes what seems interesting at the time. When nothing of interest is happening, he/she will walk around, look around, or play with his/her fingers, hair, etc. The child often appears to be day dreaming.

2. ONLOOKER BEHAVIOR: This behavior involves watching other children play. The child may talk to the children whoa re playing but does not become actively involved. The onlooker wants to be close enough to interact with the children who are playing whereas the unoccupied child’s interest keeps shifting to anything that interests him/her at the moment. (TODDLERS)

3. SOLITARY PLAY: This type of play involves a child playing alone. He/she has no interest in anyone else or that they are doing. The toys he/she plays with are different from those the other children are playing with. He/she is totally involved in a personal activity. (INFANTS)

4. PARALLEL PLAY: This type of play involves a child playing beside other children. There is no actual interaction, but the toys are similar. The child is playing beside the other children rather than with them. (2-3 YEARS)

5. ASSOCIATIVE PLAY: This type of play involves a child playing with other children. The children share toys and interact with one another. Children are involved in similar but not identical activity. There is no specific organization of activities. Each child does what he/she wishes but is a part of a large group. (3 YEAR – SCHOOL AGE)

6. COOPERATIVE PLAY: This type of play involves organization. The child is a part of a group that has a specific purpose in mind such as making an art project or playing a game. There are usually leaders and followers in this type of play.


Play is an important part of a child’s life. It provides a purpose for the child. Children must play to help them grow. There are five basic areas of growth:

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