Verbally expressed fantasy play of preschoolers as a function of toy structure

Paula Olszewski*, Karen C. Fuson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Investigated the fantasy play utterances produced by 36 3-, 4-, and 5-yr-olds while playing alone. Toy structure was manipulated by using dolls that were either realistic or schematic and by varying the presence vs absence of supporting props to accompany the dolls. All fantasy play speech was identified and coded into 1 of 3 categories: role-taking speech, narrating fantasy statements, and imitation of object sounds. A significant Age × Toy Condition interaction indicated that 3-yr-olds engaged in more verbal fantasy play in the presence of environmental supports while 5-yr-olds did the reverse. This interaction came from role-taking speech. Age differences in fantasy themes are discussed, and it is suggested that the supporting objects function by eliciting fantasy scenarios from memory. (10 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-61
Number of pages5
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1982


  • toy structure differences including realistic vs schematic doll with vs without supporting props, fantasy play utterances, 3 vs 4 vs 5 yr olds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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