Parents’ play beliefs and engagement in young children’s play at home

Xunyi Lin*, Hui Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Play is a fundamental concept in early childhood development and education. As partners in the child’s learning, parents play a crucial role in how play is defined, valued, and practised. The present study explores the constructs of parents’ beliefs about and engagement in young children’s play in two coastal cities in China. A sample of 483 parents of children aged two to four years (M = 36.48 months, SD = 4.86) completed a newly developed instrument, the Chinese Parent Play Beliefs Scale (CPPBS), to assess their beliefs on play, and two other scales to report on the parents’ and children’s play engagement at home. Factor analyses confirmed two factors in the CPPBS–Play for Learning (PL) and Play for Fun (PF). Mediation models found two patterns of parental engagement in children’s play: parent involvement mediated the relationship between their PL beliefs and children’s engagement with (pre)academic-related play, but did not mediate the relationship between their PF beliefs and children’s engagement with entertainment and fantasy play. This finding indicates Chinese parents might support young children’s play as teachers, rather than as playmates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-176
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Early Childhood Education Research Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • play
  • young children
  • parental beliefs
  • parental engagement
  • Chinese parents


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