What is group play?


Quick Answer

Group play refers to instances in which two or more children engage in play together, either in a structured environment, or on their own. It is also the third stage of development in terms of play.

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Full Answer

When infants first begin to engage in play, they can only play alone. As they get older, they learn to engage in parallel play, in which babies and toddlers play side by side, but not actually with one another. Closer to age 2, or sometimes older, a child is able to engage in group play. This means that the child can engage with other children in order to play a single game. For instance, two children may roll a ball back and forth to one another.

Group play can either be structured or independently led. Structured play usually takes place inside a classroom, and may include simple games, such as "duck, duck, goose," playing house or building with blocks with one another. Similar games can be shared when children go off to play together without direction, although games may be more imaginative. As children get older, they are able to work together and share in order to work toward a common goal. For instance, three children may build a single block tower together.

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