Types of Play – What are the different types of Play & why are they Important?

What links football, painting and a jigsaw? Play, of course! There are many different types of play – all are linked yet each is different, as you’ll find out in the latest blog as we explore the different types of play.

Play comes in all shapes and sizes, from physical fun to expressive activities. And it’s not just fun and games. These various types of play have different purposes too, making them important for children’s development. In our blog we take a look at the different types of play and what role they play for children.

The different types of Play

Physical play

We’ll start with physical play – the kind that springs to mind when most people hear the word “play”. It’s any sort of active games that children play, from hide and seek and tag to football, badminton and rounders. It’s no secret that this kind of play is great as a form of exercise, and it also provides social benefits as other children are involved.

Expressive play

It’s not just running and jumping that children do when they play. Children can express themselves using a wide range of different materials:

  • Paints
  • Crayons
  • Clay
  • Beanbags
  • Instruments

This list is by no means exhaustive – kids can use whatever they want to design, craft and create. Expressive play is key in helping children bring out their emotions and personality, as well as developing their motor skills and interacting with new textures, colours, shapes and sounds.

Manipulative play

Manipulative play is how children discover what they can control. They move puzzle pieces to create a picture in a jigsaw or press buttons to command various actions on an electronic toy. It allows them to discover different effects and consequences from what they do. Children even discover new manipulative possibilities in their interactions – such as repeatedly dropping a toy for a parent to pick it up (again and again!).

outdoor play, school playground, playcubed, playground equipment, play areas

Dramatic play

Acting games and role play are another way in which children can develop. Like expressive play, it allows them to show their emotions and personality. However, dramatic play can also be symbolic in some cases. Children may create characters or stories based on their own experiences. Dramatic play is an interesting and sometimes useful way to gain insight into how children perceive different situations and people in their life.

Surrogate play

When disability or illness prevents a child from playing, surrogate play can provide alternative stimulation. Parents or other children play on behalf of a child to engage them in the activity. Catching a ball while stood with a child, for instance, can provide enjoyment, despite them not being able to take part directly. This kind of stimulation plays an essential to a child’s mental and emotional development.

Playgrounds for all types of play

There are many different types of play that have a role in children’s development. And for schools and local authorities, it’s important to have the right space and facilities to accommodate them. At Playcubed, we design and install outdoor play environments that are tailored to your needs.

From active play areas and sensory facilities to safety surfaces, sports courts and SEN play environments – we cover all bases to make sure your requirements are met to a tee. A good play space should be enjoyed by all pupils at all stages, and must cater for all types of play. Speak to our team today to see how we can help you.

Create a play space!