Playing with Children of the Same Age

Children learn and develop social skills and behaviors through interactions with other children their own age. Parents of 1- to 5-year-olds were asked to report on how many days in the previous week their child played with other children their own age. In all, 30.0 percent of children aged 1-5 years had played with other children every day in the previous week, while 61.4 percent of children did so on some days. Fewer than 10 percent of children had not played with another child their own age on any day in the previous week.

Younger children (aged 1-2 years) were less likely than older preschoolers (aged 3-5 years) to play with their peers every day (22.6 percent versus 34.4 percent). The percentage of young children who play with children their own age every day also varies by race and ethnicity, with the highest rate found among non-Hispanic Black children (36.7 percent) and the lowest found among non-Hispanic Whites (28.4 percent). In addition, children aged 1-5 years with special health care needs appear to be more likely than children without special health care needs to play with their peers every day (33.1 versus 29.6 percent).