Play activity plays a large role in the development on young children. An example given by the text regards the process of learning number understanding. The example involved children spacial understanding of where the numbers 1-10 would fall on a line. Meaning that the child would “eyeball” where numbers belong on a line, example being 1 at the beginning of the line, 5 at the middle, and 10 belonging at the end. Those children who played board games with their families like chutes and ladders, a game that requires movement on tiles that are in sequential order from 1-10 or further, had a better understanding of numbers and performed better on the activity in class than those students who did not play such activities at home.
In chapter 3, there is also a concept call “pretend play” or more commonly known as make believe, where children take on roles with others pretending to be things or people they are not. This concept increases the child’s language development through social interaction and increases their theory of mind skills. Skills such as symbolic recognition where the child learns to see objects represent other things, such as riding a broom symbolizes a horse, knowing full well that the broom is not actually a horse.
Another example given in the text is that of exploratory play. A bit similar to pretend play, however doesn’t necessarily need to be social. This concept explains that when children are left on their own with a variety of toys or objects, children naturally begin to explore them. This leads to the child sorting, organizing, learning their properties. This results in the child learning about spacial relations, numbers, and how to categorize objects, among other skills. The example in the text describes an activity performed by Mix, Moore, and Holcomb where children matched items occording to their properties, such as three turtles and three flowers, the quantity being the relation. Those that failed the test were given materials to take home and practice the skill for 6 weeks which included a container with slots as well as items that corresponded to the slots. After the 6 weeks of playing, the children had improved numerical equivalence.