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The Four Types of Play

The Four Types of Play

Jan 21, 2022 • 7 min read

How does your child play?

If you ever have the chance to sit down and observe, have you noticed the kinds of play they engage in?

There are lots of theories about play and, like relativity and quantum mechanics, they make sense on their own but no-one has yet come up with a way to unify them - not even me ;)

One of the theories I'm particularly fond of is Sara Smilansky's Four Types of Play.

Working with disadvantaged children back in the 1960s, Smilansky noticed that children's play developed through four stages:

Click on the links above to explore the types in more depth.


I'm Alexis, father of four and founder of One Hundred Toys. I taught in London primary schools for thirteen years, specialising in the early years. Now I write about all things play here on the blog. Read more

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