A multidimensional investigation of pretend play and language competence: Concurrent and longitudinal relations in preschoolers
Play is an important tool for children's social interactions and cognitive skills. The current study examines the links between pretend play and language in 119 Turkish preschoolers at two time points tested one-year apart (Time 1 M-age = 45.82 months and Time 2 M-age = 57.68 months). Preschoolers' language competence (linguistic complexity and receptive vocabulary) was assessed along with several pretend play measures (telephone task, imaginary pantomime task, pretense score from a free play session). Results showed that concurrently the telephone and imaginary pantomime task scores were associated with linguistic complexity at Time 1 and only the telephone score was related to linguistic complexity at Time 2. No concurrent associations were found between receptive vocabulary and pretend play measures. Furthermore, a longitudinal relation was found between language competence and one pretend play measure: Time 1 telephone score predicted Time 2 receptive vocabulary score. These findings are discussed in terms of the two domains potentially sharing the symbolic aspect as an underlying mechanism and social aspect through pretense creating contexts relevant to language development.
Concurrent and longitudinal associations