Assessing play is important because play is the primary context for learning for young children. Additionally, “play is an avenue to enhance self-determined behaviors, particularly for children with limited self-mobility” (Chang, et al, 2014). Children with severe physical disabilities may have limited access to and experience with typical play materials, play schemas and peer play partners. The Test of Playfulness was developed by occupational therapist Anita Bundy to assess playfulness in any child aged 6 months to 18 years. After observing 15-20 minutes of free play in a familiar, supportive environment, traits of the child’s play are scored in the areas of intrinsic motivation, internal control and suspension of reality. Scores fall along a continuum in these three areas and create an overall picture of playfulness, useful in determining how to move forward to best support the development of play skills.
Parham, L. Diane and Fazio, Linda S., Play in Occupational Therapy for Children/Edition 2, Elsevier Health Sciences, 2007.
Okimoto, A.M., Bundy, A. and Hanzlik, J. Playfulness in Children With and Without Disability: Measurement and Intervention. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/ February, 2000, Vol. 54, 73-82.