Social Play of Children with Adults and Peers

Carollee Howes

in The Oxford Handbook of the Development of Play

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195393002
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Social Play of Children with Adults and Peers


The development of social play in children in the toddler and preschool periods of development is placed within a theoretical framework that integrates theories of development with theories of development within context, as well as with theories of cultural community. The practices and activities of a cultural community are the socio-cultural context for adult socialization of children’s forms and styles of social play. Social play is a behavioral manifestation of social competence. Antecedents of social play development include the child capacities, relationships with adult caregivers, and the social and emotional climate of the social setting of play. Future research on social play needs to examine and understand the development of children’s play when the play partner, adult or peer, comes from a different home cultural community than the child. Future social policy-directed research needs to examine trends in opportunities to play within programs for young children.

Keywords: Keywords; cultural community; social competence; social play; attachment relationships; social climate; emotion regulation; communicative competence

Article.  10460 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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