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By the end of the class the group acquires knowledge on play therapy ,able
to appreciate the role of play in development of the child, and able to utilize the
gained knowledge in caring child

ii.Specific objectives:
By the end of the class the group will be able to,
-define play therapy
-explain the importance of play
-describe the types of play
-enlist the suitable materials for play


Play therapy is generally employed with children aged 3 through 11 and

provides a way for them to express their experiences and feelings through a
of the class natural, self-guided, self-healing process. As childrens experiences and
the group will knowledge are often communicated through play, it becomes an important
vehicle for them to know and accept themselves and others.
By the end




understand the

Play therapy refers to a method of psychotherapy with children in which
a therapist uses a child's fantasies and the symbolic meanings of his or her
play as a medium for understanding and communication with the child.

Play is universal for all children. It is work for them and ways of their living .
It is pleasurable and enjoyable aspect of child's life and essential to promote
growth and development. Play is the activity that has no serious motive and
from which there is no material gain. The distinction between work and play
however lies in the mental attitude. Football can be play for children or can be
work and means of earnings for the professional footballer.

Importance of Play:
Play helps in development of children in various aspects i.e.physical,
intellectual or educational, emotional, moral and social.
Physical development enhanced during play. Muscular and sensory
abilities developed at the time of running, climbing, riding cycle and in other
active play. These activities help to strengthen muscle and to learn co-ordinate
movements and skills. The young children learn to differentiate the sensations
by visual, auditory and tactile stimulations through the use of play materials.
Intellectual and educational development:
Intellectual and
educational development promote during play. Children learn color, size,
shape, number, distance, height, speed, name of the objects, etc. while playing
with various toys and play things. Creative activity,problem solving, abstract
thinking, imagination, communication and speech development occur during
play. Children improve their attention span and concentration by playing. They
can make difference of reality and fantasy through play. It helps them to
experience thrill of achievement.

Emotional development:
Play improves emotional development. Children express their fear,
anxiety, anger, joy, etc during play. It reduces stress and strain and removes
irritability and destructiveness, thus enhances the co p in abilities. It helps to
communicate with others and outside world. Play acts as outlet of negative
feeling and considered as safety valve to release emotional tension and
emotional trauma. It is recreation and diversion for children. Play helps in
social development:
Play helps in socialization. Children become e social being through play.
They learn interaction with playmates by sharing, understanding others and
communicating. Play improves social relationship and working capacity with
other people. It helps to learn rules of social living and cultural activities.
Moral development:
Play is the means of moral development. Children learn morality from
parents, teachers and other adults. During play with peers, child's behavior
will reflect the right and wrong things, honesty, sportsmanship, and value
system. Children show awareness about the needs and wishes of others and
give importance to the friendship and co-operation. They learn norms of moral
behavior and responsibility. They become creative and independent through
play. They learn sex-role behavior in play.

Types of Play

Play is natural and spontaneous. It depends upon age, sex, interest, personality,
ability, cultural pattern and socio-economic status of the child's family. Play,
playtime and playmates decrease as the age increase. Play is a social behavior
which differs in various age groups and depends upon the level of
development. It is an individualized behavior.
Infants: Usually engage in social affective play, sense-pleasure play and skill
play. In social affective play infants response by smiling, cooing to the
interacting adult. In sense pleasure play, they learn and explore environment
through various sensory experience. They develop skill through imitation.
Young children also engage in sense pleasure play and skill play. Preschool
children enjoy dramatic play through which they identify themselves with
adult and dramatize adult's behavior. Structured formal play begins to be
played during later preschool years.
School children enjoy competitive sports, games and they develop hobbies for
recreation and diversion. School age children imitate and dramatize more
complex activities even acting out stories in books.
Adolescents and older school age children engage in a more sophisticated type
of fantasy activity called daydreaming. They spent their leisure time in
competitive sports, operating computers, watching television, listening to the
radio, hobbies, reading, etc
According to Parten and Newhall (1943), play behavior can he described as unoccupied, solitary, onlooking, parallel, associative and co-operative.

1. In unoccupied play behavior, the child is not involved in play activity

but may move around randomly, crawl under a table, climb on and off
a chair or follow another person or just stand alone with least social
2. Solitary independent play indicates when the child plays alone
independently. Toddlers and pretoddlers engage in this type of
concentrating play with less interaction with others.
3. Onlooker play behavior found when the child watches others play but
does not become engaged in their play. The child may sit nearby or
hear or see what others are doing or talking as she / he feels interest.
Young children usually do not exhibit this form.
4. Parallel play is an independent play activity when the child plays
alongside other children but not with them. They play similar or
identical play as other children play nearby. Toddlers typically play in
this manner.
5. In associative play social interactions occur between children. This is
common in preschool age group. They play with same thing and do
similar activity. Conversation and association with peers are main
6. Co-operative play behavior is found in preschool and school children.
They engage in formal game in group like football or dramatic play of

life situation.
Selection and Care of Play materials
Selection of play materials and toys depends upon age, abilities, interests, likes
and dislikes, culture, experience, personality and level of intelligence of the
child. The play materials should have the following characteristics
- Safe, washable, light weight, simple, durable, easy to handle and nonbreakable.
- Realistic, attractive, constructive and offer problem-solving opportunities.
- No sharp edges and no small removable parts which may be swallowed or
- Not over stimulating and frustrating.
- No toxic paints, not costly, not inflammable and not excessive noisy.
- Play things with electrical plugs should be avoided, only children over 8
years of age should be permitted to use them.
Parents should avoid impulse of buying toys because of advertisement in the
mass media. Toys can be purchased on the basis of the above mentioned
criteria and safety measures to be followed. Supervision during play is
important to prevent accidental injury. There is no substitute for being with

children when they are playing.

Children must be taught the followings

- Correct use of toys. Parent should explain the directions for use and the
caution labels.
- Safe storing of toys in a space with easy reach and away from busy areas.
- Keeping the playthings in good conditions. Parents should repair or discard
damaged and broken toys.
- Keeping the play materials of older brothers and sisters away from younger
children. The wrong toys for the wrong ages can be injurious to children.
- Electronic toys and games can also be shared by the adults in the children's
play time. Parents may interact and initiate the use with precautions.
The nurse should encourage and motivate the children and parents for play and
make them aware about the importance of play. Parent should allow the child
to play and arrange the play things. The important nursing responsibility is to
teach the parent about safety measures and observation, interaction and
supervision of the children during play. Nurse should initiate play at home,
hospital or in health care agency depending upon the individual choice with
high flexibility. Nurse should inform about the modern concept of play to the
parents and family. Traditionally, girls are expected to play with dolls and boys
with the toys required greater muscular activity. Presently, children of both
sexes engage in dolls play as well as play of muscular effort and learn the

roles of sexual equality.

Suitable Play material According to Age

Infant: Infant learns motor skill, bodily control and co-ordination by various
means. They need stimulation with toys for visual, auditory and tactile
sensations. The play materials suitable for them can be as follows

4 weeks to 4 monthsBright and moving objects, hanging cradle toys,

musical toys , balloons, rattles, etc.

4 months to 6 monthsSoft squeeze toys, rattles, toy animal,

balloons, etc.

7 months to 9 monthsSqueeze and sound toys, blocks, cubes, plastic

ring, rattles, etc.

10 months to 12 monthsMotion toys, water play, blocks, doll, ball,

musical toys, picture books or stiff cards, rocking horse walker,
transporting objects, pull and push toys.

Toddlers: like informal free spontaneous, constructive and parallel

play. They should be provided with fitting toys, pull- push toys,
pyramid toys, blocks, vehicles, ball, doll, is and pans, household
articles, mud or clay, cryons, picture books or cards, play telephone,
doll's house etc.

Preschool children: like co-operative, imitative, creative and

imaginative play. Suitable playthings for this group are puppets,

animals, dolls, doll's house, carpentary tools, large blocks, paint
materials, colored picture books , doctor set toys, hospital equipments
(like plastic syringe, blunt scissors), housekeeping toys, papermodelling clay, cooking materials, tricycles, etc.
School-age children: prefer competitive formal organised and co-operative
play. They like imitation and self direction. They like games rather than toys.
Toys are popular upto 8 years of age. Children of this group enjoy games of
muscular activity, running, climbing, swinging etc. They like carpentary tools,
painting materials, chess, chinese-checkers, cards, balls, crafts, music, puzzles,
acquarium, maps, animals to make zoo or farm or pets, gardening etc. They
become interested in exploring matters

So far we have seen the importance and types of play.

Play therapy addresses psychological issues and would not be used to alleviate
medical or biological problems. Children who are experiencing physical
problems should see a physician for a medical evaluation to clarify the nature
of the problem and, if necessary, receive the appropriate medical treatment.
Likewise, children who experience academic difficulties need to receive
a neuropsychological or in-depth psychological evaluation in order to clarify
the presence of a biologically based learning disability

R. Marlow, Textbook of Pediatric nursing, Saunders publisher, 6th
edition, page no. 31-39
Marilyn J Hockenberry, Essential of pediatric nursing, Mosby
publisher, 7th edition, page no.29-48