NON SOCIAL PLAY IN CHILDHOOD
Kenneth Rubin and his associates in their research work on social and non social play, have tried to distinguish the difference between social and non social play.
Rubin, Fein and Vandenberg (1983) defined play in terms of the following characteristics:
(1) Play is not governed by appetitive drives, compliance with social demands, or by inducements external to the behavior itself; instead play is intrinsically motivated.
(2) play is spontaneous, free from external sanctions, and its goals are self-imposed.
(3) play asks “What can I do with this object or person?” (this differentiates play from exploration which asks “What
is this object /person and what I do with it/him/her?”).
(4) play is not a serious rendition of an activity or a behavior it resembles; instead it consists of activities that can be labelled as pretense .
(5) play is free from externally imposed rules.
(6) play involves active engagement.
According to Rubin and associates , “Social play compromises the associated constructs of social participation, social competence, and sociability, and typically involves two (or more) children participating in functional-sensorimotor, constructive, and dramatic activities, and games-with-rules. It also comprises active conversations between children as they go about interacting with each other, negotiating play roles and game rules”.
‘Nonsocial play is defined as the display of solitary activities and behaviors in the presence of other potential play partners’. Thus according to this definition a child sitting and all alone in any given environment is not engaging in nonsocial play are there are not other play mates surrounding them.
To understand more about nonsocial play, a tool named ‘The Play Observation Scale’, was developed by Rubin in the 1970’s to make observations on the structural components of play. This tool was constructed along the lines of Parten’s and Smilansky’s classification of play. During the administration process of tool, and analysis of the results three distinct sub types of nonsocial forms of play was classified based on the type of play children were involved in.
These sub types are Reticent behaviour is a play behaviour where the children are either onlooker (observing other children at play) or unoccupied (looking aimlessly, just roaming around, without any goal). Solitary – passive play is a play behaviour that characterizes a child quietly involving oneself with exploring objects in a very inert manner playing all alone. Solitary – active play is a play behaviour where the child is actively involved in playing with or without objects and more importantly in the presence of other children.
These nonsocial forms of play can have various meaning, depends on the circumstances and the developmental milestone achievement of a child with various degrees of psycho social development.
By Dr Srividya K