After covering Physical Play, Constructive Play, Fantasy Play and Social Play, we've made it to the fifth and final type of the 5 Types of Play! (Come back next week for a post that touches on open-ended toys, and their ability to be used in more than one type of play). And finally...
Games with Rules
Building off of Fantasy and Social Play, Games with Rules is another big one for social development, and can incorporate the other types of play as well. It's easy to think of board games, soccer or Simon Says in this category, but word games (Going On A Picnic), call-and-repeat songs (The Other Day, I Met A Bear), and simple things like passing a ball or Peek-A-Boo all fall under the type of play known as Games with Rules.
The importance of Games with Rules? That there is structure and order to a lot of things in life (luckily, it starts with tag, and not with standing-in-the-line-at-the-grocery-store) that, when followed, allow things to go smoothly, and be fair (and fun) for everyone. My son (10 months) has known for some time that when he sees his father or I make "the claw," and it inches towards him, he's going to get tickled. If we suddenly stopped tickling him after making it, or started giving him a baby massage instead, it would be confusing for him - and not fun for anyone. The Game with Rules that's the most fun in our house right now? Whichever one he starts, whether it's stick-out-his-tummy-to-get tickled, or pull-the-blanket-on-and-off-his-face-to-make-us-laugh. He's wee little, and years away from Monopoly, or even Candy Land, but he gets it: we take turns, we follow the rules, and everyone has fun.
Break out a pack of cards, play Eye-Spy, create a silly rhyming game. It's not about being competitive or winning, it's just about modeling having fun with games!