Criteria used to categorize children's play: Preliminary findings

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Vickii B. Jenvey
Heidi L. Jenvey
Cite this article:  Jenvey, V. B., & Jenvey, H. L. (2002). Criteria used to categorize children's play: Preliminary findings. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 30(8), 733-740.

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This preliminary study was aimed at investigating and assessing the reliability of criteria generated by participants themselves to categorize children's play. 12 participants who were experienced in observing children's play, were shown 8 video excerpts of children's play and asked questions to elicit (a) the criteria they used to categorize play, and (b) the features of each play episode that were salient to the participants. Results showed that participants categorized play according to a mixture of Behavioral (Positive Affect; Nonliterality; Unrestrained/Unrestricted); Motivational (Practice; Communication and Cooperation) and Contextual (Presence of toys and props) criteria. These criteria were mostly comparable with existing criteria used to categorize play. Results are discussed in terms of the multidimensional nature of children's play and its characteristic and reliably identifiable features.

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Appreciation is due to reviewers including Professor Peter K. Smith


Unit for School and Family Studies

Department of Psychology

Goldsmiths University of London

New Cross

London SE14 6NW


Vickii B. Jenvey, School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia. Phone: +61 3 99053937; Fax: +61 3 99053948; Email: [email protected]

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