Play value

Play value

Play value is the essential value of a toy or game for play.The term is frequently employed in the field of child development for the assessment of toys andgames. When they are fun and engaging, playthings are said to have play value. Those that are quickly discarded or are considered disinteresting, do not. In short, objects of play must be compelling and encourage the child's involvement in order to have true play value. Classic toys are examples of toys withtrue play value as they continue to provide new discoveries and adventures in each subsequent session of play. [cite book |author= |title=FAO Schwarz Toys For A Lifetime: Enhancing Childhood Through Play) |publisher=Stevanne Auerbach |year=1999 |isbn=0-7893-0355-8] .

Assessment of play value in the selection of toys and games

The selection of toys and games has long been a concern to parents and educators. Many fail to sufficiently engage children. Stevanne Auerbach emphasizes that products should last as longas possible and have many different and long lasting uses. Good examples of toys withhigh play value are blocks, construction toys and yo-yos. The toy should have clearinstructions so the parent and child are guided to its best use by the designer andmanufacturer. [cite book |author= |title=Dr. Toy's Smart Play Smart Toys (How To Raise A Child With a HIgh PQ (Play Quotient)) |publisher=Stevanne Auerbach |year=2004 |isbn=0-97855-400-0]

Multiple uses

Toys tend to have high play value when they may be used, engaged and employed in manifold ways. A good example is Lego bricks which may be assembled and connected in myriad ways tomake cars, trucks, planes, trains, etc. Another good example is polymer clay which may be used for sculpting hand-shaped items,such as beads, jewelry, and charms.

Self-directed play

Children need to be in charge of their own play activity. According to PBS' The Whole Child Web sitewhen adults plan the play activity and structure the outcome of playtime it is far less effective than if children have the freedom to form their own ideas, practice skills and use playthings at their own speed. Cardboard box toys are an example of playthings which allow children touse their own imaginations. PBS - The Whole Child: ABC's of Child Development [http://www.pbs.org/wholechild/providers/play.html] ]

Appeal to more than one age or stage of development

Playability is a word that when applied to games has a similar meaning to play value. Those games with strong playability appeal to more than one age or stage of development. For example, Monopoly and Riskare two games that appeal to a wide range of ages, though generally not to very young children. Similarly, toys that appeal to more than one age or stage tend to have higher play value.

Inverse relationship with linkage to TV, movies and video games

Authors Nancy Carlsson-Paige & Diane LevinNancy Carlsson-Paige & Diane Levin. [http://www.parentingbookmark.com/pages/NCP03.htm] ] note that play value in toys can be seen as inversely related to their degree of linkage with tv, movies and video games.For example, G.I. Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Power Rangersare all examples of toys that have cross-feeds with television shows that have violent themes.Similarly, Godzilla, Small Soldiers, Spawn, Jurassic Park and Starship Trooperstoys are marketed to children 4 and up despite being based on movies that are rated
PG-13 or even R.

Complement or supplement other play activities

Computer games or electronic toys are examples of toys that can complement or supplement other playactivities. According to author Cathrine Neilsen-HewettCathrine Neilsen-Hewett [http://www.earlylearningcentre.com.au/Store/members/parent009.aspx] ] , while often stimulating, engaging and fun, these toys should never become a substitute for traditional play activities such as drawing, pretending, or block building. Instead, electronic games are best thought of as adding to or reinforcing other kinds of play, and are not a suitable replacement for parentalinteraction and attention.

Stay with children as they develop

Classic toys such as Mr. Potato Head, the RadioFlyer wagon and Chutes and Ladders stay with a child as he or she developsnew interests and matures. They "stand the test of time."

Promote respectful interaction

Toys have greater play value that promote respectful, non-violent and non-stereotyped interaction among children. For example, Barbie is an example of a toy that reinforces gender stereotypes for girlsdespite its status as a classic toy.

Useful for further learning

Play value is enhanced by toys and games that help children develop skills usefulfor further learning and mastery such as Scrabble and The Game of Life TRUCE. [http://www.truceteachers.org/toyactionguide.html#choosing] ]

References

General
* Bredekamp, Sue and Carol Copple (Editors) (January 1997). Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs (Naeyc (Series), #234). Washington DC , National Association for the Education of Young Children.
* Frost, Joe L., Sue C. Wortham and Stuart Reifel (2004). Play and Child Development (2nd Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ Prentice-Hall)
* Miller, Linda G. (1993). Choosing Appropriate Toys for Young Children in Guddemi, M. & Jambor, T. (Editors), A right to play. Little Rock, AR, Southern Early Childhood Association.
* Neysmith-Roy, Joan M. (1994). Constructing Toys to Integrate Knowledge about Child Development in "Teaching of Psychology", Vol. 21, Mahwah, NJ, Division 2 of the American Psychological Association.
* Scarlett, W. George, Sophie C. Naudeau, Dorothy Salonius-Pasternak and Iris C. Ponte (2004). Children's Play. Thousand Oaks, CA Sage Publications Inc.
* Schaefer, Charles E. (Editor) (2003). Foundations of Play Therapy. New York, Wiley.

ee also

*Play (activity)
*Play therapy


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