The Language of Children

In This Section

Tuesday, Oct 31, 2017


      CASA’s have the great opportunity to speak the “language of children.” Play is a universal “language” we all know—we have all “spoken” it before. By watching children play, we often learn more about their thoughts, feelings, motivations, and struggles than by talking with them!

PLAY:  According to Rubin, & Vandenberg (1983), the following are five essential characteristics necessary for an activity to be considered play:

  1. Play is intrinsically motivated. It is done for the satisfaction it brings.
  2. Play must be freely chosen by the participants.
  3. Play must be pleasurable—it must be enjoyed or it is not considered play.
  4. Play is non-literal, meaning it involves some distortion of reality in order to accommodate the interests of the participants.
  5. Play is actively engaged in by the player.

THE FOUR “POWERS” OF PLAY:  Dr. Charles Schaefer, considered one of the “fathers” of the field of play therapy defines them as:

  • Communicative Powers. Young children express themselves better through play than words.
  • Teaching Power. Children learn and remember better when instruction is made fun and enjoyable.
  • Ego-boosting Power.  Children experience a sense of power, control, and competency through play.
  • Self-actualization Power. Play gives children the freedom and safety to be themselves.

TYPES OF PLAY:  According to Berger & Thompson (1959), the following are types of play that correspond with specific developmental stages of children:

  • Sensorimotor play
  • Parallel Play
  • Pretend play
  • Cooperative play
  • Competitive play
  • Rough-and-tumble play