British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 28 Issue 2 (June 2010), Pages 219-504

Assessing different aspects of pretend play within a play setting: Towards a standardized assessment of pretend play in young children (pages 331-345)

The present study suggests a method with which to assess the interrelations between different types of pretend play. In contrast to standard methods in this area, the various types of pretend play were measured within an interactive play scenario. The pretend play tasks were included in a semi‐structured play sequence and presented to young children between 24 and 30 months of age (N=30). Self‐ and doll‐directed pretence, object substitution, pretence with realistic objects, and self‐initiated pretend play, as well as the understanding that an object had been given two identities was tested. The capacity for dual representation was assessed by asking for the real and pretend identity of an object. Age differences were found in the overall score for elicited pretence but not for all items separately. Individual items also differed in difficulty and thus are of potential use for assessing intraindividual differences in pretend play. Findings are discussed in the context of current theories and methods concerning the development and assessment of pretend play.

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