The Collaborative Construction of Pretend

Social Pretend Play Functions

By Carollee Howes
With Olivia Unger & Catherine C. Matheson

Subjects: Education
Series: SUNY series, Children's Play in Society
Paperback : 9780791407561, 168 pages, January 1992
Hardcover : 9780791407554, 168 pages, February 1992

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Table of contents

1. Introduction
PART I: Mastery of the Communication of Meaning

2. Mastery of the Communication of Meaning in Social Pretend Play

3. Mothers and Toddlers: Partners in Early Symbolic Play: Illustrative Study #1
Laura Beizer and Carollee Howes

4. Collaborative Construction of Social Pretend Play between Toddler-Age Partners: Illustrative Study #2
Carollee Howes and Olivia Unger

5. An Analysis of Young American and Mexican Children's Play Dialogues: Illustrative Study #3
JoAnn M. Farver

PART II: Negotiating Social Pretend Play: Issues of Control and Compromise

6. Expressing and Exploring Issues of Control and Compromise by Negotiating Social Pretend Play Meanings and Scripts

7. Mothers' Beliefs about Mediating Peer Play and Toddler-Age Children's Peer Networks: Illustrative Study #4
Olivia A. Unger

8. Attachment Security and Social Pretend Play Negotiations: Illustrative Study #5
Carollee Howes and Carol Rodning

PART III: Trust and Intimacy

9. Exploring Issues of Intimacy and Trust within Social Pretend Play: A Review

10. Friendship and Social Pretend Play: Illustrative Study #6
Carollee Howes, Catherine Matheson, & Fang Wu

11. Multiple Attachments and Peer Relationships in Social Pretend Play: Illustrative Study #7
Catherine Matheson

12. Self-disclosure in the Pretend Play of Physically and Sexually Abused Children: Illustrative Study #8
Nan Tarlow and Carollee Howes

13. Conclusions



Subject Index

Author Index


The Collaborative Construction of Pretend explores the origins and development of social pretend play in children. It begins with the infant's first attempts to play pretend with an adult; discusses the beginnings of toddler pretend with peers; and investigates the fully developed social play of preschool and school age children. The author argues that social pretend play can fulfill several different developmental functions and that these functions change with development. Each of these functions are rooted in the individual development of the child and in the social context. Thus the book looks at developmental progressions not only in the forms of social pretend play but in the meaning of the play to the child.

Carollee Howes is Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of Peer Interaction in Young Children.


"The assumption of different developmental functions of social pretense at different points in ontogeny is a good one; and the elaboration of this thesis is well done. What I liked best about the work is the current information presented and the efforts to link empirical research to theory construction as well as to practice and policy. The authors are to be commended for their efforts to pull together in a meaningful way very current research findings. There are excellent and provocative suggestions on adult conceptions of play hierarchies." — James E. Johnson, The Pennsylvania State University