Game Stage in Sociology: Definition & Overview

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Generalized Other: Definition & Example

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 What is the Game Stage?
  • 0:55 Game Stage
  • 2:47 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Expert Contributor
Lesley Chapel

Lesley has taught American and World History at the university level for the past seven years. She has a Master's degree in History.

The game stage was first developed by sociologist George Mead. In this lesson, learn more about the game stage and self-development and look at some examples.

What Is the Game Stage?

Sociologist George Herbert Mead was interested in the way in which we developed self-awareness. Mead believed that our sense of self was primarily developed through our social activities. Mead theorized that there are three stages of self-development that we pass through during childhood:

  1. Preparatory Stage (about age two or less): Children copy, or imitate, the behaviors of others around them without sophisticated understanding of what they are imitating.
  2. Play Stage (about age two through six): Children start role-playing and taking on the role of significant people in their lives. Children only take on one role at a time.
  3. Game Stage (about age seven and up): Children learn their role in relation to others and how to take on the role of everyone else in a game.

Game Stage

The game stage is the third and final stage of self-development. In the game stage, children are involved in organized team activities. Children have to learn and follow established game rules, learn about what their roles are in the game, and learn what their teammates' roles are as well. Children also have to learn the relationship between the various roles of the game participants. This requires children to be able to assume the role of several others at the same time.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Additional Activities

Writing Prompts About Game Stage in Sociology

Essay Prompt 1:

Write an essay that explains why Sociologist George Mead developed the game stage theory, and describe the three main stages of self-development he devised.

Example: Begin by explaining Mead's desire to figure out how a person's self-awareness arises. Then, list and describe the preparatory stage, the play stage, and the game stage.

Essay Prompt 2:

Write an essay that explains how and why the game stage is an essential part of self-development and self-awareness. Tip: Be sure to include the definition of the generalized other and how that fits into the game stage and understanding of the self.

Essay Prompt 3:

Write an essay in which you describe the role of team sports in the game stage theory of sociology. Do you think individual sports (like figure skating or gymnastics, for example) would have the same impact on a child's self-development and self-awareness as team sports? Tip: Use evidence from the lesson to support your position.

Example Prompt 1:

Create and write about an example that depicts the game stage.

Example: You could use the game of baseball and show how acting as a batter fosters a child's conception of his role in the game (and, by extension, his role in society at large) as well as the role of the generalized other.

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account