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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Functional Play Functional play explores what objects are like and what can be done with them. For example, Javon spent an entire week exploring colored glass stones. He ran his fingers through them, poured them from container to container, and lined them up in straight rows. He eventually sorted and classified them, first by color and then by mixing similar colors. He created pat- terns: green, blue, green, blue. His combinations could be repetitive or random, and he commented on what colors looked best together. One Monday when he arrived at school, he went directly to the library. He selected a book with the work of the painter Piet Mondrian. Using sticks and his colored glass stones, Javon re-created Mondrian’s color blocks inside a picture frame. His activity now had a new purpose. His creations were constructive play. The combinations he selected were intentional; we could tell that he had been practicing with a specific plan in mind. Constructive Play Children engage in constructive play when they create something new using existing play objects. Diego, who was skilled at building complex structures with blocks and Legos, encountered a new set of loose plastic connectors. He started arranging them by shape and testing the many possibilities they offered. He constructed what appeared to be a large, towerlike structure. As it grew taller, he added other parts that he identified as the arms and legs of his robot. Eventu- ally, he figured out a way to make the arms move. He played with this robot for a long time, along with other children. Building robots went on for weeks, and more loose parts became used in different parts of the setting. Dramatic and Symbolic Play Dramatic play is particularly important for social-emotional and cognitive devel- opment (Vygotsky 1967; Pepler and Rubin 1982; Rubin 1982). Donna M. Bagley and Patricia H. Klass also support the importance of symbolic play and suggest that the quality of play objects can affect dramatic and symbolic play. In many cases, the more open-ended and ambiguous those objects are, the better they function (1997). For example, Alejandro had recently been hospitalized with asthma. When he returned to school, he spent a lot of time re-creating his hospi- tal experience through symbolic play. He built his hospital with blocks and tree cookies, making it bigger and bigger. Charlotte and David joined him in 14  chapter 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL