About Playing For
What if there were a way to make play more
wholesome, creative and imaginative for children and more
targeted to their developmental needs? Could promoting an
environment of constructive play in our schools be part of
the solution to school-based violence? Shouldn't all children
have access to play that fits their developmental level, regardless
of their socioeconomic circumstances or abilities? Shouldn't
parents be encouraged to remember that kids need unstructured
time in their day for imaginative free play?
Playing for Keeps was founded in 1998 to
promote and protect the role of play in our society. ACM adopted
the former nonprofit as one of its leadership initiatives
in 2008, with transitional
funding from past Playing for Keeps supporters.
Play has always been at the core of ACM's work and that of
its members. Yet play opportunities for young children are
diminishing, drawing increased concern from educators, parents
and the general public. Promoting the necessity of play and
advocating that communities and families make play a daily
habit has become more important than ever.
Goals for the ACM
Playing For Keeps Leadership Initiative
To elevate the discourse about the importance of play
To empower and support ACM members with resources and advocacy
To position children's museums as vital early learning partners
in their communities
Below is a preliminary list of play research
and references. Email ACM
if you have a resource recommendation that helps explain play's
impact on the development of young children.
Developed for ACM by Jennie Ito, Ph.D.
Glossary PDF with citations
Cognitive development: The development
of the ability to imagine, perceive, reason and problem solve.
Correlation: The association between two variables.
Dual representation: Thinking about one thing in two ways
at the same time as both an object and a symbol.
Executive functioning: Cognitive processes that aid in the
monitoring and control of thoughts and actions (such as self-regulation,
planning and inhibition).
Free play: Play which is child-led play, without the constant
interference or involvement of an adult.
Imaginary companion: A type of role-play
in which children impersonate characters by creating pretend identities
and interact with stuffed animals and invisible characters.
Imitation: Purposeful reproduction of another's body movements,
whether novel or familiar.
Individual differences: The aspects of people's personalities
that make them different from other people.
Metacognition: One's knowledge of their own cognitive processes
or anything related to them.
how oneself or another represents the world.
Narrative: A sequence of events and/or states of affairs.
Narrative absorption: "Seeing" or experiencing
a fictional scene as vividly as if one were personally experiencing
Object substitution: A type of pretend play in which an object
(real or imagined) can be used "as-if" it were another
object (e.g., pretending a block is a car or pretending with an
Parallel play: When children play along side others but do
Perspective taking: The ability to step outside one's own
perspective and adopt the perspective of another person.
Play therapy: A therapeutic model that uses the benefits
of play to facilitate treatment with an emphasis on the relationship
between therapist and client.
Pretend play: Acting "as-if" something is real
when it is not. The term is also used interchangeably with other
related terms such as dramatic play, make-believe play, imaginative
play, and fantasy play. The fact that pretend play goes by so many
names highlights its complexity and the numerous interpretations
of this behavior.
Pretense: See pretend play
Representational insight: The realization that something
is a symbol that stands for something else.
Role play: A type of pretend play in which children create
imaginary roles or characters, and act "as-if" they are
another character or animal (e.g., Batman or a cat).
Scaffolding: A process in which more competent people provide
a temporary framework that supports children's thinking at a higher
level than children could manage on their own.
Script: A well-rehearsed and remembered set of actions and
remarks that is associated with a particular character or context.
Sensorimotor play: The exploration of sensations and movements
Social development: The ways in which individuals' social
interactions and expectations change across the life span.
Structured play: Play which is adult-led, guided and planned.
Theory of mind: The understanding that behavior is guided
by unobservable mental states, such as beliefs, intentions and desires.
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for Keeps Transition Supporters
Alex Panline USA, Inc. Gerber Foundation
of the Bank of America Charitable Gift Fund John W. Lee II
RC2 Corporation ThinkFun, Inc.
To learn more about Playing For Keeps and
how to support its ongoing efforts to protect and preserve play,
please contact Eliza
Katz, ACM Program Manager,
Development & Special Initiatives, at 703-224-3100.
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