Marilee Mowry

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education (MAE)



First Advisor

Gretchen Irvine

Second Advisor

Joseph Erickson


This study investigated the relationship between the duration of free play periods and the social and cognitive levels of play in kindergarten. The play of forty-one children in an elementary school in Saint Paul, Minnesota was observed during fifteen minute and thirty minute play sessions over a four week period using Rubin's social-cognitive scale. It was hypothesized that the children would exhibit a higher percentage of mature play categories, an increase in social cognitive play behaviors, and a higher percentage of positive affect, relative to other forms of play during the longer play periods than during the shorter play sessions. Performing / tests confirmed this hypothesis in regard to significantly higher percentages of group dramatic play in the long periods. Qualitative observations were also completed through the use of two case studies during the twenty day investigation for the purpose of subjective observations. As expected these subjective pictures of play behavior further supported the notions of higher Ievel play activity and increased social behavior occurring in longer play sessions than shorter ones.


SC 11.MAE.1995.Mowry.M