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play in early childhood development The most general examinations of play are embedded in the explorationplay literature This research suggests that the pllay of preschoolers is followed by diverse exploration or searching the environment for stimuli that are arousing Research defines play as a rather stable set of responses to stimuli such as casual and easily distracted attention to objects and stereotyped actions whereas exploration is seen as more deliberate and often stereotyped Children in these settings are observed alone in laboratory settings suggests that play has a solitary dimension The transition from play to diverse exploration is continuous rather than discontinuous Boyd Pellegrini 106 Exploration is a common behavior engaged in by infants from birth to approximately 2 years of age Exploration can be solitary or social with social exploration typically involving a parent or another adult Mastering and ignoring comments relevant to skills already mastered or beyond their capabilities is relevant to tasks that they are in the process of learning Boyd Pellegrini 110 Children begin to engage in fantasy generally during the second year of life like other forms of play the frequency of occurrence increases over the next 3 to 4 years and then declines Boyd Pellegrini 110 When children are between 1 and 2 years of age substitutions are dependent upon realistic props for example a doll Children progress from such transformations to using less realistic props and then to using no props at all Boyd Pellegrini 111 This can be commonly seen among children who have an imaginary friend or who pretend to be rocking a doll who is not really there Children also engage in fantasy on the playground Boys generally choose to play outdoors more than girls do and exhibit more complex behavior while outdoors So the effects of playground variables may be mediated by gender Boyd Pellegrini 113 Rough and tumble play unlike fantasy
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