What should you know about play and developmental theory when trying to provide appropriate interventions?

Forum 3: The Importance of Play

Several children between the ages of 4 and 13 from the local elementary school are in the ER following a school bus accident caused by a fierce thunder and lightning storm. After receiving treatment for minor cuts and bruises, many children are still in the ER because parents are having a difficult time getting through the storm. What should you know about play and developmental theory when trying to provide appropriate interventions?

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response 1:

New! WEEK 3

lashari degraffenreid (Jul 18, 2016 12:51 PM) – Read by: 3Mark as ReadReply to This MessageReply


Last Edited By lashari degraffenreid on Jul 18, 2016 1:53 PM

Last Edited By lashari degraffenreid on Jul 18, 2016 1:26 PM


Because the children are between the ages of 4-13 it’s best that you look at each child developmental stage and catergorize there level of play by that. Play is an essential, natural part of childhood, important in its own right. Play facilitates healing, coping, mastery, self-expression, creativity, achievement and learning, and is vital to a child’s optimal growth and development. Play is an integral aspect of child life practice with infants, children and youth of all ages (childlife.org). The age group from 4-7 should have a more Symbolic or pretend stage of play. These children may pretend play. Such play constitutes the child’s effort to recreate experiences on a way that can be dealt with, and to repeat past experiences in order to enjoy ot reframe them in acceptable and understandable ways (Thompson, R. H. (2009). Children from the ages of 8-11 also known as school-age child’s play will be more realistic and may have some rules. These children may play board games, card, or computer games. As adolescents and, ultimately, adults move from concrete operations to thinking in formal operations, play’s outward manifestations change and become miniaturized, socialized, and abstracted (Bergen, 1987).




Thompson, R. H. (2009). The Handbook of Child Life : A Guide for Pediatric Psychosocial Care. Springfield, Ill: Charles C Thomas.




response 2:


Courtney Kavanaugh (Jul 19, 2016 9:05 AM) – Read by: 4Mark as ReadReply to This MessageReply


Play is one of the most powerful tools for a child life specialist. Assessing the situation, the ages of the children, their stress levels. and what developmental stage they are at will be key in when providing the appropriate intervention. When children are playing they experience many things, “Play is an arena in a health care setting in which children can exert power and make choices. Adults may control the space and restrict time, but children have the tools of fantasy and imagination. With these tools, play opens a window through which children can process their experiences, present and past,and grasp new meaning” (Thompson, R. H. (2009). As the children enter different developmental stages, their play changes as well.

Children ages two through seven enter the world of make believe play. “Socio-dramatic play for preschoolers often has themes beginning with the simple imitation of adults and moving through intensification of real-life roles, home relationships, expression of physical and emotional needs and forbidden impulses, and the reversal of roles”  (Thompson, R. H. (2009). Some activities that could benefit the this age group would be, putting out dolls, kitchen set, stuffed animals, and have opportunities for the children to express themselves through socio-dramatic play.

For children who are ages seven through thirteen they enjoy play that is more structured and rule orientated. Some activities and games include, “Complementary role games, such as construction projects, puppet shows, word games, and chants, and competitive role games, such as card, board, and computer games as well as organized physical games,become a major component of the play of school-age children” (Thompson, R. H. (2009).

Using these different types of play to accommodate children who are going through this difficult time will help to reduce stress, and worries. It is important to keep in mind that not all children are going to be at the same developmental stages, and each child is unique and different. As a child life specialist it is important to, “match interactions and activities to the developmental level of the child, emotional state, and the individual needs of the child” (Official Documents of the Child Life Council. (2011). Understanding the developmental play stages in children will help these children while they are waiting for their parents. Play has may benefits but it is extremely useful in the hospital setting to help them cope.


Official Documents of the Child Life Council. (2011). Retrieved July 19, 2016, from file:///C:/Users/courtney/Downloads/CLC Official Docs_Password Protected 2015 _Ch_ldlif3_ (2).pdf

Thompson, R. H. (2009). The Handbook of Child Life : A Guide for Pediatric Psychosocial Care. Springfield, Ill: Charles C Thomas.


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