What types of games are there actually?

Contribution from: Johanna Schubert, psychotherapist who works, among other things, in the educational and family counseling center / therapy Johna Schubert


There are different stages in children's development and therefore different forms of play. Playing is the child's active engagement with its environment. The child's environment expands as it develops and so does the child's play repertoire.

"Children want to learn."

— Johanna Schubert

The unknown must become known

Discover, understand, play

Children want to discover, understand, get closer to their laws and become familiar with unknown things. For children there are - thank God - no routine, no habits, no behavior patterns.

It is their world of constant encounters with new things and with options for action, which in turn the children perceive as a completely natural motivation/provocation for action. According to the motto "The unknown must be known, the new awaits a personal discovery, the attractive needs to be experienced!"

Here are the game forms in their (usual) order:

Sensorimotor play

(1st and 2nd year of life)
Enjoying body movements with lots of repetitions (kicking, sucking, etc.), exploring your own body

Exploration game

(from the beginning of the 2nd year of life)
Exploring objects (e.g. dismantling game objects)

Construction game

(from age 2)
Assembling/designing objects (play building blocks; kneading)

As if game

(from age 2)
Reinterpreting objects (building blocks become railways, etc.)

Parallel game

(3rd and 4th years)
Intermediate form between individual and social play: children play next to each other and observe each other; At the age of 4, increasing observation of the partner

role playing game

(from age 5)
Interplay of several characters/roles (mother-father-child games, doctor games, playing school, etc.); an action is maintained over a longer period of time with the help of meta-communication, among other things

Rules game

(Transition to primary school age)
Play according to fixed rules, compliance with which is essential (almost always as a competitive game: e.g. hide-and-seek, football, board games). The attractive thing is comparing the performance of partners with similar ability levels.