Lev Vygotsky
  • Play is gratification
  • Play has a set of rules that we must follow
  • Play leads to new learning (Zone of Proximal Development)
  • Toys are pivots
  • Play has stages
Vygotsky’s Theory
Gratification- children have a desire that they cannot fulfill, they gratify that desire through playRules- Each play activity has rules that the child must follow even if they do not want to;
Zone of Proximal Development
when playing the child can do something they would not be able to do without play
Vygotsky believes Toys;
help make the external/internal
(0-3)- no play (imitation only)(3-7) symbolic play7-12 games with rules
Vygotsky and Rules
Paradox of play- play brings pleasure BUT we do not just do whatever we want; each play activity has rules that the child must follow even if they do not want to;
are socially determined, but they are not fixed. they become more social as we get older
Vygotsky on play and cognition
zone of proximal development- a person can do something with assistance that they would not be able to do aloneexternal to internal- a child develops the ability to separate thought froma ction and action from thought
another word for the help that someone receives to reach a higher level. children can be ____ by people and by activites.
external to internal
vygotsky- children as they develop they get better at doing things inside their heads. a mature adult can do complicated operations in his head.

play can help children develop this ability.

toys and other objects. tows work as a help to the child to move from external to the internal.

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the toy helps the child pictue the object in their heads.

-play is social-play is culturally determined-play develops how we think and act-play has rules
-Play is a way of understanding how children think;-play is consolidation : children learn a new idea and consolidate that idea through play-stage dependent theory;
Play is assimilation
-we do not learn through play but assimilate something that we learned before- play developeds in stages as our cognitive structures grow we can play with more and more complexity;
stages of play- reflecting cognitive growth and how the child thinks
  • sensorimotor: functional play- we do basic motor/physical/repetitive actions (0-2 yeasrs)
  • Preoperations- symbolic play or dramatic/construction play- children can creat symbolic situations in their heads, but are still basically egocentric. (2-6)
  • concrete operations- games with rules- our growing social awareness allows us to (6-12)
  • Formal operations- no play- we longer need to play to creat these imaginary situations (12-adulthood)


functional play
  • repeated actions on objects (usually toys) or self;
  • acquire motoric understanding of qualtities of the physical world
  • begin to form understanding of similarites and differences based on qualities
transition to symbolic play
begin to demonstrate meaningful actions out of their contexts-pretending
symbolic play
  • construction
  • dramatic
  • combining the two
construction symbolic play
creating symbols for use in pretend play
dramatic (sociodramatic or role play)
taking roles in increasingly complex pretend
combining the two
creating settings for complex pretend
games with rules
begin by pretending with game pieces, learn game actions, acquire understanding of rules: turn taking, goals, strategy (how to win, how to keep others from winning)