Pretending at Home

Early Development in a Sociocultural Context

By Wendy L. Haight & Peggy J. Miller

Subjects: Anthropology
Series: SUNY series, Children's Play in Society
Paperback : 9780791414729, 150 pages, July 1993
Hardcover : 9780791414712, 150 pages, July 1993

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. Studying Everyday Pretending

3. How Much Do Children Pretend?

4. The Interpersonal Context of Everyday Pretending

5. The Social Conduct of Everyday Pretending

6. Immediate Outcomes of Mothers' Participation in Pretend Play

7. The Social Functions of Everyday Pretending

8. The Physical Ecology of Everyday Pretending

9. A Summary of Major Findings: Portraits of Kathy and Charlie

10. Conclusions

Appendix A. Subcategories of Pretending

Appendix B. Ambiguous Actions Excluded from Analyses of Pretending


Author Index

Subject Index

Wendy L. Haight is Assistant Professor at the University of Utah. Peggy J. Miller is Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


"Pretending at Home provides a close look at how young, middle-class, Euroamerican children and their mothers engage in pretend play. Haight and Miller argue that pretend play is, from its origins, a social, not a solitary, activity. The rich analysis of the play episodes of nine children and their caregivers over the first few years of their lives together yields a very solid portrayal of the development of pretend play. The volume contributes to a growing interest in understanding how children's development occurs through interactions with their companions in everyday sociocultural activities. " — Barbara Rogoff, The University of California, Santa Cruz

"Haight and Miller's Pretending at Home is a landmark volume. It directly challenges long-standing notions about the solitary nature of pretend play by clearly locating it in a social and cultural framework. The combination of intensive, quantitative observations and insightful, qualitative analysis is impressive. " — Ross D. Parke, Director, Center for Family Studies, University of California, Riverside

"This extensive, long-term, naturalistic study provides solid data on the ontogeny of pretend play. It shows, for the first time, how pretending emerges as a social activity in the course of everyday life. These findings will be invaluable to students of normal development in our mainstream cultures as well as offering a base for comparison with different cultural traditions or with environments in which the growth of pretending is discouraged or disrupted. " — Catherine Garvey, University of Maine, Orono