1932

Abstract

Objects permeate human culture and saturate the imagination. This duality offers both opportunity and challenge. Here we ask how young human children learn to exploit the immense potential afforded by objects that can exist simultaneously in physical and imaginary realms. To this end, we advance a new framework that integrates the presently siloed literatures on manual skill and play development. We argue that developments in children's real and imagined use of objects are embodied, reciprocal, and intertwined. Advances in one plane of action influence and scaffold advances in the other. Consistent with this unified framework, we show how real and imagined interactions with objects are characterized by developmental parallels in how children () transcend the present to encompass future points in time and space, () extend beyond the self, and () gradually move beyond objects’ designed functions. In addition, we highlight bidirectional influences in children's real and imagined interactions with objects: Play engenders practice and skill in using objects, but just the same, practice using objects engenders advances in play. We close by highlighting the theoretical, empirical, and translational implications of this embodied and integrated account of manual skill and play development.

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2021-12-09
2024-06-14
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