This model aims to conceptualize children’s underlying skills and behavioral elements characteristic of play, as well as the influences that both individual and environmental factors. Embedded in the play environment and cultural and familial milieu, this model includes developmental play capacities (cognitive, physical and social play skills) and individual play style (internal control, freedom to suspend reality and intrinsic motivation) that make up the child’s contribution to the play transaction. Play reflects the child’s cognitive, motor, language and social skills. Cognitive play skills reflect the child’s problem solving and logical reasoning skills to use materials or situations in an adaptive and elaborate manner. Mastery of play through practices increase confidence and expectations about future performance. Physical play activities help children develop and refine locomotion, eye-hand coordination and manipulation skills. Social play skills include communication and language, social knowledge, and social roles. Play is viewed as a form of communication reflecting self-concept, language skills, social knowledge and interpretation of social roles. Internal control is the ability to determine play actions and choices, e.g., how or with whom to play. Freedom to suspend reality is the ability to introduce the pretend elements into play. Intrinsic motivation is the play that is inherently enjoyable and process-oriented. The play environment includes physical and social elements of the play context that either stimulate or restrict play. The cultural and familial milieus are ecological factors, e.g., family, socioeconomic status, community support, ethnic identity and gender roles, which directly or indirectly shape the child’s play experience. Family, ethnic, and cultural beliefs and expectations influence how the child plays. The culture also influences importance of play and permission to play. Detrimental experiences, such as child abuse and parental neglect, may affect or impede normal play development, and may have negative impacts on each component of play. Occupational therapists are the experts on occupation and use functional activities, like play, as therapeutic tools. This model can be applied to different clinical groups of children as a holistic framework to predict how disability or environmental dysfunction may affect play.
- Macey Cho
- Model (conceptual)
Domain of occupation
The model aims to conceptualize the underlying skills and behavioral elements characteristic of play and emphasizes the importance of environmental influences on play.
Cooper, R. (2000). The impact of child abuse on children's play: A conceptual model. Occupational Therapy International, 7(4), 259-276.
- Rodney Cooper