From water as a toy to water as a tool: a pilot study on object play and tool use in young children

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Mulik, Crystal
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University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Psychology
The “Play Ethos”, a principle centred around the idea that play is beneficial, suggests the relevance of play to learning. This thesis discusses the facilitation of tool use through object play from a perspective of the “Play Ethos” and Affordance Learning Theory. A study consisting of observational, experimental, and supplementary phases was delivered to 9 children aged 3-6 years old at the Forestry Campus of the Lethbridge Montessori School. This study investigated if behaviours seen in a playful setting (observational phase) were then used to solve a problem in a task (experimental phase). Results showed that similar behaviours were conducted in both phases, however due to confounding variables and limited sample size, further research must be conducted to test the relationship between object play and tool use. Despite these results, this study identifies and explores important topics to consider when designing and facilitating experiments to young children.
Object play in young children , Tool use by young children , Play ethos , Lethbridge Montessori School