Relationship between toy and material use and the occurrence of social interactive behaviors by normally developing preschool children

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The purpose of this naturalistic study was to identify the kinds of social behaviors that normally developing preschool children exhibit while manipulating various toys and materials found in most preschool settings. One hundred fifteen 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds in four day-care centers were observed during free play periods. Thirty-eight available toys and play materials were rated as to whether they were used in an Isolate, Parallel, Sharing/Cooperative, or Physical Assistance context. The resulting data on toy/material use are discussed in terms of selecting physical stimuli in social behavior modification efforts that clearly set the occasion for positive social interaction.

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