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Imagination and emotion in children’s play: A cultural-historical approach

1.2 Children’s development and childhood
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
4:50 PM, Tuesday 29 Aug 2017 (30 minutes)
Interpretations of Vygotsky’s texts have in general focused on the intellectual aspects of children’s development, including his texts about play. This article presents a reinterpretation of Vygotsky’s theory of play and draws on this theory of art to include emotions as an important part of children’s play. I will argue that in play children’s motives, emotions and feelings are connected vitally with the development of imagination, fantasy and creativity. Four main points are put forward: A) In Vygotsky’s (1967) theory of play, children’s imagination transforms the relations between objects and meanings and between actions and meanings. It is important to include children’s emotions and feelings in these analyses; B) Emotions and feelings may be included by including the way imagination transforms the tensions that children expressed in play between different motive orientations towards the play theme; C) The relations between events and feelings may become transformed through children’s play so that emotions and feeling become released from events the same way that meaning in play are released from objects, actions, and D) Changes in the way children play through their life course has to be seen as an interaction between the institutional conditions and traditions and children’s motive orientation. Therefore, the way emotions and feelings become transformed in relation to events changes through children’s different life periods. These points are illustrated by drawing upon observation of children’s play activity in different age periods and in different contexts.
Copenhagen University
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