Pretend play is not only one of the great joys of childhood, it also offers abundant opportunities for children’s development. Children develop interpersonal skills, particularly cooperation and conflict resolution, and improve their language in problem-solving abilities and pretend play.
Do you remember pretend play when you were a kid ? I used to play ….. you guessed it – teacher !!
Around the age of two, children began to pretend to cry, sleep, and eat . They soon include a stuffed animal, doll, or other favorite toys in their play. They also begin to transform objects into symbols – a simple block becomes a fast racecar or stick becomes a racehorse.
As children turn three, they begin participating in make-believe play with other kids. Dramatic play gradually becomes more elaborate and complex. Four and five-year-olds engage in socio- dramatic play, which involves opportunities to rehearse adult roles. Such play helps children make sense of the world.
This pretend play is often focused on home experiences. Kids pretend to cook, clean, and care for younger children. That’s why our dramatic play area has props and equipment that represent the home setting. They stimulate children to act out roles familiar to them.
Dramatic play fosters emotional development as children with fears and worries work through them in a safe context. Social skills are promoted as children communicate and negotiate their roles and actions. Another plus is that children use language more frequently and more elaborately in make-believe than they do in virtually any other activity.
Parents can actively encourage dramatic play at home by capitalizing on their children’s interest at the moment, developing themes from stories their children have heard or movies they have seen, and providing props for pretend play. Providing a home environment that is conducive to play sometimes stimulates intellectual and social development. At the same time, parents will be developing rich memories of their children at play – memories that will last a lifetime.
A great example of this happened today. I sat for over an hour today watching and interacting when appropriate as the children were engaged in pretend play. Normally this takes place in the dress up room and Holly generally facilitates play upstairs. But today they brought it downstairs. They placed eight chairs in front of the door and put together a movie theater.
They made snacks for the theater.
Jude even made a remote to start the movie.
They discussed whether birds were allowed or not.
( Remember the negotiation part ? Side note the children are putting strings on the stuffed turkeys and pretending they are pets. Savanna was walking hers and talking for it ” just give me one more chance !! Just give me one more chance!!” Poor turkey headed to the thanksgiving dinner table. )
As the movie started they all took on whisper voices and passed passed the popcorn from one person to the other.
(Remember symbols ? These were are yarn balls that became popcorn .)
This movie theater even had French fries.
Maybelle made prizes for children that sat quietly during the movie .
Play like this means relinquishing control and allowing materials to be moved and used in ways that are not normal. It was hard for me to let them walk around with the Playdoh. You have to be ok with a bit of a mess. I went to the kitchen after the bell rang and as I walked down the stairs I asked were they finished playing ” movies”? They said yes. As I was about to say ” you have a big mess to clean up I looked and Glory Be it was all put away. I am So proud of them.
It was a good day. Pass the popcorn please. ❤️