Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Development and Family Studies


Relatively few studies have documented the nature of mother-father-child play interactions at home, especially during the preschool years. Based on the ecological approach regarding the relationship of play behavior as a function of the playing child and the play environment (Darvill, 1982), this study investigated the play of 48 3- and 5-year-old boys and girls with their parents in their home. The mother-father-child play was videotaped for 10 minutes and later coded for child's social-cognitive play behaviors and the parental involvement of mother and father. Quality of home environment was measured using the HOME Inventory scale (preschool version);Differences in types of preschoolers' play with their parents at home were found. Three-year-olds were more likely than 5-year-olds to engage in the cognitive play categorized as functional, constructive and dramatic play whereas 5-year-olds were more likely than 3-year-olds to engage in the cognitive play categorized as games with rules. These findings reflect the developmental progression of play during the preschool period. Parental involvement of mothers and fathers shows different likelihood of preschoolers' home play. When mothers and fathers participated as play partners in their preschoolers' play, there was a tendency for more complex play (i.e., games with rules and interactive play) to occur more frequently and less complex play (i.e., functional, constructive, dramatic, solitary and parallel play) to decrease. However, the more facilitation mothers and fathers displayed, the more frequently low complex play occurred. It is interesting to note that the status of play partners and nature of play (individual rule-governed activity) and games (formal rule-determined activity) may contribute to parent-child home play. Results also indicated the relationships between quality of home environment and the play of preschoolers at home with their parents. High quality of home environments was associated with games with rules while low quality of home environment was related to functional, constructive and solitary play.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Chittinun Tejagupta



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

221 pages