Children Read the Quality of Gestures

Delivery Method: 

Max and Justin are engaged in pretend play. Notice the flexibility with which the children use the bicycle inner tube as a symbol. The boys seamlessly transform the inner tube into a car seat belt, a possible flotation device for swimming, and a guitar that is strummed energetically. The children demonstrate spontaneous leadership and the role of imitation as they explore different scenarios. Once seated inside their pretend car, Max says, “I’m driving.” Justin responds by saying, “No, you’re not driving. I’m driving.” Notice that Justin looks at Max’s hands as he speaks. Rather than assume Justin is working to maintain his leadership role, we might speculate that Justin is thinking about the quality of Max’s symbol. He may be telling Max that the action he’s doing is not the correct action for driving. As young children work to co-construct shared meanings, they are often encouraged to reflect upon and refine the effectiveness of their symbols.

Keywords: Twos, Child-Child, Pretense, Gestures, Communication

Length of stand alone video clip: 3 minutes 21 seconds