Imaginative Play

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sychChildren’s Imaginative Play: A Descriptive Psychology Approach Charles Kantor, Ph.D. Abstract The significance of children’s imaginative play is presented from the perspective of Descriptive Psychology and in particular Ossorio’s Dramaturgical model of persons. The fluidity of imaginative play, the imitation of and creation of social practices and options within play as well as the opportunity to switch roles and act according to reasons of another, contribute to the development of judgment. The observer-critic role emerges during imaginative play as children produce, direct, and enact their dramas. Within these scenarios, children develop competence and eligibility to be not only status assigners but also self status assigners. During…show more content…
The self and self concept The psychoanalytic theorists (Freud, Erikson) see children playing out negative emotions in a safe context. Children are attempting to regain control in situations of conflict. Mead stresses the importance of role playing in children’s play, which activity contributes to a child’s sense of self (Verenikina et al, 2003). Erikson (1963, p.240) in describing a young client struggling with the wartime death of his father, a pilot, illustrates the healing value of play: “…he was observed swooping down a hill on a bicycle, endangering, scaring, yet deftly avoiding other children…. In watching him, and hearing the strange noises he made, I could not help thinking that he again imagined himself to be an airplane on a bombing mission. But at the same time he gained in playful mastery over his locomotion; he exercised circumspection in his attack, and he became an admired virtuoso on a bicycle.” 259 Advances in Descriptive Psychology—Vol. 9 This description of a young boy playing imaginatively illustrates elements that theorists over the years have attributed to the value of play. His role play was distinctly social as others witnessed his attack, and his actions increased his stature, his prestige among his friends. His ability to handle the bike, his cognitive strength, “circumspection in his attack”, as he swoops down the hill, is noted as well. His self esteem increased to the extent that he
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