Playing with Others

Learning to play with others is a complex skill that develops over time. Playing with others requires children to take turns, to cooperate, and to negotiate with others. Through play, children can practice taking multiple points of view. Children who initially believe that everyone sees the world the same way may learn, by acting out a role or pretending to be somebody else, that other people see things differently.

Children go through four stages as they develop their ability to play together.

  • Solitary Play — when children play alone, and show no interest in what other children are doing
  • Parallel Play — two or more children play side by side and use the same materials, but do not interact, work together, or share
  • Associative Play — children share toys and try to work together, but still have trouble taking turns and solving disagreements
  • Cooperative Play — children act out complementary roles in a shared scenario, divide up the roles, decide who will do what, and truly work together