Cognitive and affective processes in play have related to measures of creativity in school-aged children. In a previous examination of these play processes in preschool-aged children with the Affect in Play Scale-Preschool version, cognitive and affective play processes related to divergent thinking. One goal of the current study was to replicate this finding and examine the relationship between pretend play and storytelling creativity in preschoolers. A second goal was to test the effectiveness of a brief play intervention. Adult-led play interventions have effectively improved play skills and related developmental skills for children with documented play deficits. However, there is a need for an empirically-based, brief play intervention for typically developing preschool-aged children. A pilot study found medium to large effect sizes for increased play skills for an intervention with preschool-aged children and their parents. The current study aimed to examine the effectiveness of the intervention without parent involvement.
Forty-one typically developing children (ages 4-6 years) participated. Pretend play, divergent thinking, and creative storytelling were assessed at baseline and outcome. Children were randomly assigned to the play skills intervention, which received three 20-30 minute individual play sessions, or the active control. At baseline, results were that cognitive and affective play processes related to divergent thinking and creative storytelling. The play intervention did not significantly improve pretend play skills or creativity in the intervention group compared to the control group. Reasons for the nonsignfiicant findings for the intervention, suggestions for future refinement of the intervention, and implications for childhood development are discussed.
Fehr, Karla K. and Russ, Sandra W. "Pretend Play and Creativity in Preschool-Aged Children: Associations and Brief Intervention." Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts 10, No. 3 (Jan 2016): 296-308. doi:10.1037/aca0000054.