There are three different forms of play that children and adolescents can engage in, as well as five types those forms of play can take on.
Forms of Play:
This form of play can be seen as babies interact with in their environment or explore a toy by themselves as well as older children who play a videogame or with dolls alone.
As toddlers start to socialize and develop, it is common to see them playing similar activities or different activities around each other but not with their peers. For example, when you see two children playing trains next to each other with their own trains and tracks but not playing together, this is parallel play. Once they start playing the trains together and sharing the toys, goals or/and outcomes, they have moved to group play.
This form of play can only be accomplished once the child has developed certain social skills normally around the pre-school age. In this form of play, the children will work together to finish a task, game, or goal. For example, in team sports like soccer, children will play together to score points as a team or when playing a board game, children will take turns while playing together until someone wins.
Types of Play:
Children use this type of play to encourage and continue their physical development. They use their gross motor and fine motor skills to play with toys, games, peers.
This type of play teaches children social skills and helps them learn how to interact with age-mates and peers in social settings. For example, through social play children learn how to share and how to wait for a turn.
In this type of play children learn about their environment and how things work by manipulating the things around them. Building with blocks or drawing with crayons is a type of this play.
This type of play encourages children to use their imaginations and try new things. Make believe dress-up play or role-playing games are a type of this play.
Games with Rules
In this type of play children gain the understanding that there are rules that need to be followed so the desired outcome is achieved and that all children playing the game are following the same rules. In order to fully be capable of this type of play children also need to have developed some social skills like sharing and taking turns. Team sports is an example of this type of play.