The Land of Make-Believe: Using Sociodramatic Play to Increase Kindergartners' Self-regulatory Abilities

Joanna M Sinha, Fordham University


Prominent theorists assert that engaging in sociodramatic play is an essential activity for the development of self-regulation. This study proposed the use of sociodramatic play as an intervention tool for building self-regulation in kindergartners. In this study, two sociodramatic play intervention paradigms were compared to a control group. In the first play intervention, participants received environmental provisions (e.g., time, space, and materials) necessary for sociodramatic play. Participants second play intervention received the same provisions, and an adult co-player joined their play sessions to scaffold the development of advanced sociodramatic play skills. Three components of self-regulation were examined as outcomes, including attentional control, delay of gratification, and behavioral control. Using pretest and posttest design, a repeated-measures MANCOVA analysis was conducted. Results of the analysis revealed a significant positive effect of receiving a play intervention (regardless of the type) on behavioral regulation. Closer examination revealed that participants who received the environmental provisions intervention paradigm had a greater rate of improvement in behavioral regulation than the participants who received the adult-scaffolding intervention paradigm. Control group participants' behavioral regulation decreased over time. This study also examined the role of gender and siblings. A repeated-measures MANCOVA revealed a significant main effect of Gender on the self-regulation variables. The effect of siblings was not significant. Gender played a notable role in the content of participant's play, which was distinct for each of the play paradigms. Males in the environmental provisions intervention groups engaged in more aggressive play themes than males in the adult-scaffolding intervention groups. The findings of this research suggest that the provision of time, space, and materials for sociodramatic play can positively influence behavioral regulation. Educators, counselors, and parents can make simple, inexpensive changes to open up opportunities for children to engage in sociodramatic play, which continues to have great potential as a medium for positively influencing the development of self-regulation.

Subject Area

Elementary education|Educational psychology|Counseling Psychology|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Sinha, Joanna M, "The Land of Make-Believe: Using Sociodramatic Play to Increase Kindergartners' Self-regulatory Abilities" (2012). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3544140.