Child Development Through Play Ages 6-9

We’ve previously spoken about play for development in babies and toddlers. Now that your child is becoming what can often feel like a mini adult, it’s time to discuss how they begin to change in their development, and how they interact and play with both you as a parent, and their peers.

You may notice that this stage in the development process has you run off your feet. The 6 to 9 age group usually brings with it a budding social life. Your child has started school, made a some friends, and has begun to take part in a few out of home activities. This is an essential part of your child learning to be independent. With this independence comes new awarenesses. This involves becoming embarrassed by their parents (sorry Mam and Dad) behaviour, especially public displays of affection in front of peers. They will also begin to play in groups of their own sex, this is completely normal for children this age.

The spectrum of emotions and development in this age range can be very wide and varied. They’ll go from an energetic 6 year old, to a little worrying serious 7 year old. That energy and enthusiasm will return in 8 and 9 years olds, paired with a strive for independence.

Photo by  MI PHAM  on  Unsplash

Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

6 & 7 Year Olds: A Change in the Way They Play

As we mentioned, the way your child develops through play in this age group is going to change. We’ve jotted down the ways this can happen and how to encourage their development.

  • No interest in playing with the opposite sex

Your child isn’t being mean to the opposite sex by not wanting to participate in play with them, it’s just a part of their natural development. It’s best to leave them to it and try not to interfere. They may also start to use stereotypes, for example “girls can’t like the colour blue” or “boys can’t play with dolls.” It’s probably best to encourage them to not stereotype but it is a phase they grow out of.

  • Begin to enjoy friends company

Up until now, your child may have had some friends in preschool, but as they turn 6 they begin to value the friendships they’ve forged. Your child will appreciate spending time with their friends so try organise some playdates outside of school time.

  • An understanding of rules

As your child reaches 7, they’ll begin to understand the concept of rules. Abiding by rules in games will become very important. Issues may arise with peers or siblings if they don’t yet understand rules, so be prepared to play referee!

Photo by  Ben White  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Promoting Social Skills in 8-9 Year Olds

In this age range, children are very sociable. It can be hard to promote this social aspect of their development during the summertime especially, so we recommend talking to your child about joining a class or camp. It’s a great way for you to promote your child’s social development, and you can also get a bit of “me time”.

Types of Camps

Every child is different and therefore has different interests. Camp doesn’t necessarily mean sport. We’ve found some camps and resources to find a camp for your child, no matter where their hobbies lie.


If you have a mini scientist on your hands, look into some STEM camps. Whether they want to experiment in a lab, or learn to code, giving your child the opportunity to learn in a camp environment is great for their social and cognitive behaviour. Attending camp is also helpful in promoting independence and is all in all, a bit of fun!


The budding artist of the family deserves the opportunity to tap into their artistic side, an art camp is just the solution to promote their creativity. There are camps for all ages throughout Ireland that will keep your little artist busy!


From 6 to 9, your child really begins to understand how team activities work. Sport camp is especially important for ensuring your child stays active and sociable throughout the summer holidays. From basketball to GAA, you’ll be spoiled for choice!

If none of the above suit your child, check out this list for more!