Children’s imaginative play: A descriptive psychology approach

Kantor, C. / Published 2010 / Article

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Citation: Kantor, C. (2010). Children’s Imaginative Play: A Descriptive Psychology Approach. In K. E. Davis, F. Lubuguin, & W. Schwartz (Eds.), Advances in Descriptive Psychology: Vol.9. (pp. 257-285). Ann Arbor, MI: Descriptive Psychology Press.

Abstract: The significance of children’s imaginative play is presented from the perspective of Descriptive Psychology and in particular Ossorio’s Dramaturgical model of persons. The fluidity of imaginative play, the imitation of and creation of social practices and options within play as well as the opportunity to switch roles and act according to reasons of another, contribute to the development of judgment. The observer-critic role emerges during imaginative play as children produce, direct, and enact their dramas. Within these scenarios, children develop competence and eligibility to be not only status assigners but also self status assigners. During play, children distinguish the concept of community, create play communities, and develop the eligibility to be members in more then one community simultaneously.

As Snoopy takes aim at the Red Baron, we are taken back to our childhood. We’ve pretended to be Mickey Mantle hitting the game winning homer and we’ve planned and carried out imaginary tea parties. Whether it is our own child playing with action figures, or more recently directing his avatar around World of Warcraft, imagining ourselves as another, playing out these roles, and seemingly renewing ourselves in the process are familiar forms of human activities.