This type of play may occur in children between 3 and 5 years of age and is called associative play because children are beginning to associate with each other.
As a child's language skills increase, they become more aware of other children and more able to communicate. The child may play with others at activities, speak briefly to them, laugh together and react to them. Although these children are playing together, you will find their interactions are brief and the play episode may not last very long. For example, children may borrow and lend toys and laugh together without actually cooperating or playing with common ideas in mind.
Early superhero play is often observed at an associative play level as groups of children ‘fly’ around and deal with emergencies. However, they are not coordinated together and do not talk together about plots or particular character themes.
To encourage associative play you may provide props for imaginative play, or activities where children need to share materials with others. Car mats, block corners and dress up areas all give children the opportunity to associate with each other.