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Two people tossing a ball to each other.

Plays with peers

This stage of play focuses on working together. There are no “winners” or “losers.” Playing cooperatively demonstrates developing social skills with peers. A goal is to play cooperatively for one minute for each year of age, so for a five-year-old that would be approximately 5 minutes of sustained cooperative play. Encourage the use of language in play and support children’s attempt to structure their cooperative play with others.

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Activity Ideas


Chien, N. C., Howes, C., Burchinal, M., Pianta, R. C., Ritchie, S., Bryant, D. M., Clifford, R. M., Early, D. M., Barbarin, O. A. (2010). Children’s classroom engagement and school readiness gains in prekindergarten. Child Development, 81(5), 1534–1549.

Coplan, R. J., & Arbeau, K. A. (2009). Peer interactions and play in early childhood. In K. H. Rubin, W. M. Bulowski, & B. Laursen (Eds.), Handbook of peer interactions, relationships, and groups (pp. 143–161). New York, NY: Guilford Press.