This paper presents findings from The Irish Neighbourhood Play Study; a national, cross-border research project which recorded children’s play patterns in Ireland during 2012. The study incorporated 1688 families across 240 communities. Data was established on the play choices of children aged from birth to 14 years. Multiple differentials were explored including socio-economic and geographical environments.

This paper focuses on the findings within imaginary play patterns for the full cohort. As such, it presents the play patterns for imaginary play in children aged birth-14 years. The findings are discussed in the context of developmental patterns with particular emphasis on the relationship between imaginary play and the development of creativity.

Creativity is a key concept within contemporary education. Its central nexus is problem solving in the face of uncertainty. Within a rapidly changing world, it is a key skill requirement for today’s children as they grow towards efficacy within instability. The relationship between the development of creativity and children’s engagement with imaginary play practices are explored in this paper.

©IATED (2017). Reproduced in Research Online with permission.


The Irish Neighbourhood Play Study, play, early childhood education, imaginary play, pretend play, creativity, creative development

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