Evaluation of a Childs Toy in Relation to the Theories of Play

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This essay will evaluate how a child’s toy can specifically help them develop with relation to specific theories. The theories of play that will be referred to are Jean Piaget’s, Lev Vygotsky’s and George Herbert Mead’s theories. The Toy that will be assessed is; PlushPups, family bigmouth hand puppets.

The puppet set has a suggested age range of three and over. This is a conventional puppet set which contains 6 characters; mum, dad, daughter, son and grandparents. An advantage of this toy is that there are no specific ways to play with it; it can be used in any way the child wants to play. Traditionally the puppets would be used by children to act out scenarios, particularly family scenarios. The puppets also allow children to imagine
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Applying Piaget’s theory of play, to play with puppets, shows that this type of play can have a positive impact on a child’s development. However, there are theories that contrast with that of Piaget, which argue children develop in different ways.

Lev Vygotsky’s theory suggests that there is a zone of proximal development (ZPD), in which a child can act above their actual age. This will help the child develop psychological tools such as conversation skills, and also understand other people’s behaviours. “Play creates a zone of proximal development (ZPD) of the child. In play child always behaves beyond his average age, above his daily behaviour; in play it is as though he were a head taller than himself. As in the focus of a magnifying glass, play contains all developmental tendencies in a condensed form and itself a major source of development.” (Vygotsky, 1978, p102 in Faulkner 1995). Vygotsky saw children’s interactions in play, as creating zone in which their play is more advance then their actual development level. The ZPD is thought of as a social space, where children can encounter new information through interaction. Vygotsky claimed that children will be introduced to different perspectives on knowledge they know, and also gain new information through conversations with other children and adults. This new knowledge then becomes an internalized part of a child’s mental representations. The theory also
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