Play Time

Hastings Center Report 40 (4):2-2 (2010)
Abstract
Watch a three-year-old play. As she enacts Ariel and Barbie’s judo match over which will marry Prince, or trudges through the living room scolding a pink polka-dotted bunny in a stroller, or explains to you that four-foot-tall Dora is in time out because she’s been hitting the other kids with a hammer—well, you may be laughing, but chances are she’s not. When you’re three, play is a serious, cathartic process aimed at sorting out and bringing under tenuous control the often overwhelming emotional cues thrown at you each day. Children tease out what scares them—say, jealousy, or blame, or violent anger—and nail it down in particular scenarios that allow them to follow a feeling to its natural conclusions ..
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