As Piaget showed how from ages two to seven children develop into what he calls the Preoperational stage (Piaget, 1936/1952). This is fascinating to me because of the development of the language skills. One of the most interesting to me is how these children often talk to themselves. If you just listen, I have found you can hear what they are really thinking. They are not only thinking aloud, but they are listening to the world around them as well.
Vygotsky believed this was a child's way of controlling the event they were trying to focus on. His theory pushed the idea that this is part of the development into more mature thought processes and created far more reaching cognitive development than Piaget believed.
My own experience with this was when my son was only three years old. I was watching an old Marx's Brothers movie and he was content playing with his little cars. He was talking to himself as he played and I would listen to him once in a while, which was mostly just rrrrrooooommmm rrrrroooommm and such. My son seemed to be oblivious with the world around him, yet all of a sudden he repeated Groucho, "Huba Huba!" I was shocked that he was listening to the movie this close as he was so into his playing with the cars!
What do you believe about why children talk to themselves and what is one of your experiences with this type of child behavior?