Sock, Boot, Ski then Slide

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In this video clip Mackenzie labels her pretend action in sequence, sock on, ski on, sock on, ski on. Emily reminds her to put on her ski boots. Emily realizes that socks on skis would not work. Mackenzie gets it. But Mackenzie does not take off her imaginary ski before she puts on her ski boots. She simply rustles her hands around her foot as if to “erase” the last placement. She does honor the sequence that boots go on before skis. The symbolization here is mostly about putting a list of items in the proper sequence. She even reverses the sequence correctly by taking off her pretend skis before taking off her boots. She does not symbolize putting her weight on her boot to insert it onto the ski. Her movements of putting on socks, boots, and skis are rather generic. Mackenzie’s symbols capture sequence and location (her foot), but do not capture the shape of action required to don a sock or connect boot to ski. In early symbolization, sequence and location are manifest earlier than the shape of an action.

Yet the shape of action becomes manifest when Emily pretends that she is holding ski poles. Notice how she slides her feet rather than lifts them and reaches out with her arms as she takes long strides, the way a cross-country skier would do. Her imagined ski poles take her to a higher level of representation. She, in essence, accommodates to the physical constraints of ski poles even though they are not actually there. She also changes the shape of her fall on the second enactment; this time she falls face down as if to accentuate being in the snow. As you observe pretend play in children, you will find it useful to know when a child has done something slightly more advanced than before. Perhaps you see other examples of advanced symbolization in this delightful video clip.

Keywords: Threes, Child-Child, Symbolization, Pretense

Length of stand alone master video clip: 2 minutes 13 seconds