The English philosopher and sociologist H. Spencer expanded and completed Schiller’s theory. He claims that the child plays because he has an excess of energy and too much time, which he does not have to spend on struggling for existence, but to stay alive. He also showed that children imitate the activities of adults in their games.
According to him, play is a type of activity that does not aim to achieve any direct benefit, but which has been habitually perpetuated.
Spencer’s theory had many flaws
It does not sufficiently explain the phenomenon of play, and it does not explain it either, causing the excess of strength and energy to be discharged in play and not in any other form of activity.
Opposite to the previous one is the theory formulated by Schiller and Lazarus called the respite theory. According to this theory, play allows the tired body and mind to rest. Playing is a form of active rest, regeneration of strength, and relaxation from work.
From other theories, the theory of S. Hall also deserves mention.
- This theory is called atavism or biogenetic. S. Hall claims that in children’s games there are activities resembling forms of action, appropriate for particular periods of human development.
- He believed that games were the beginning of the activities of the old generations, which were preserved in children.
- Another known theory is the theory of the preparatory exercise by K. Gross.
- Play is presented in the form of exercises, activities and movements needed in the future life, so it is a preparation for later life activities.
H. Carr speaks in his theory about the so-called the cathartic function of play, i.e. the fact that play is to cleanse us from the tendencies against the social with which we are born and provides the body with the stimulus necessary for the development of organs influencing growth, in particular, on the nervous system.
Edward Claparde, the Swiss educator, is the creator of the theory of the substitute function.
Play is a substitute, a substitute for cognitive activity
Play plays a substitute role in the lives of children. In addition to a substitute role, play also plays a preparatory role. having fun meeting the needs of the present prepares the future. This theory gained a lot of publicity because it was marked by a more comprehensive view of the importance of play in psychological development.
Play is a factor in social development.
French educator C. Freinet treats play as a specific form of child’s work. This activity is a necessary development factor for a child. Freinet saw in children’s play not only a source of pleasure, but also showed the child’s desire to adapt to the surrounding world and the possibility of discharging energy.
He believed that play, accompanied by effort, fatigue, new experience and discoveries, gives the child satisfaction and many other benefits.