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Infant Toddler Development Training
Module 3, Lesson 5

Skills Observed during Play Assessment

Observers should focus on the skills the child performs or demonstrates. The following are some examples of skills and behaviors that might be observed:

  1. Engagement in pretend play
  2. Curiosity
  3. Frustration levels and response
  4. On task
  5. Interactions with peers
  6. Types of symbolic play
  7. Communication
  8. Use of objects/toy
  9. Shows evidence of pleasure
  10. Interactions with facilitator
  11. Task persistence
  12. Toy preference
  13. Problem Solving

Toys Appropriate for Infants during Play Based Assessment

Toy List A Toy List B
mobiles simple cause and effect toys such as those with switches or buttons
teething toys texture or yarn balls
rattle sound toys
small, simple toys to hold foam blocks
toys safe to throw soft balls
little things to climb on safe things to cuddle
safety mirrors toys safe to bang


Toys Appropriate for Toddlers during Play Based Assessment

Toy List A Toy List B
nesting objects modeling clay
non-toxic bubbles markers, chalk, crayons, paints
toys to ride, push, or pull blocks
things to climb on toy telephone
simple animal or action figures sand and water
musical instruments dress-up items
dolls representing various races and cultures books
small broom balls


The Role of Parents in Play Based Assessment

Parents should be involved before, during and after the play based assessment. Before the assessment is to begin the family service coordinator might ask the parent what the child likes to play and what their favorite toy is. During the process the parent may be the person to interact with the child in order to elicit a more typical response. Or, the parent role may be to observe the play and perhaps coach the facilitator. The facilitator might even make suggestions to the parent regarding what the parent might do to extend or facilitate the play of the child. After the session, parents should be involved in the discussion of the child's performance and how they view the next steps for interventions. This is particularly important if the parent asks a question such as, "Do you think that Billy (the child's brother) can play ball with Sam?"


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