Fantasy play of toddlers and preschoolers

Tiffany Field, Louis de Stefano, John H. Koewler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Reality play (RP), object and person fantasy play (OFP and PFP), and announced FP were observed during the free play of 49 Ss (aged 1.6-5.5 yrs). Comparisons were made across 3 age groups, and a subsample of 18 Ss was observed again 1 yr later to determine age differences and the developmental course of these types of play. A developmental progression emerged in both cross-sectional and longitudinal data; younger Ss engaged in RP and older Ss in PFP a greater proportion of time. OFP peaked at an earlier stage than PFP and declined in the older age group. Announced FP increased, as did verbal interactions, from the early to middle stage and showed no change from the middle to older age group. Although the age curves are linear for some and curvilinear for other types of R-FP, a general developmental progression emerged from RP to OF to PF and announced FP. (12 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-508
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 1982


  • developmental progression of fantasy play, 1.6-5.5 yr olds, 1-yr followup

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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