What is pretend play?

Pretend play is any type of play where the child acts out real-world scenarios. It ranges from using play food to dolls and dress up. It lets the child use his/her imagination to create situations that he/she will come across at some point in life. It is important to participate in this type of play, and can help build several social and emotional skills, as well as influencing the child’s personality. Also, it teaches children how to play together and work as a team to accomplish a goal.

Strategies to promote:

  • Join in, but let them be in control
  • Make sure they are safe
  • Don’t dismiss fears, let them know you understand what they are feeling
  • Acknowledge imaginary friends

How does it help my child?

  • This helps a child’s social/emotional skills because he/she child can express him/herself through different roles.
  • It teaches language skills because it allows the child to use spontaneous language to create dialogue with others.
  • Thinking skills are enhanced when a child uses brainstorming to solve a problem that he/she may encounter during playtime.
  • Pretend play teaches nurturing and imagination by teaching a child how to care for others, as well as requiring them to use creative thinking by using ordinary objects for things other than their intended purpose.

Examples of Pretend Play in Preschool Children:

  • Cooking
  • Taking care of babies
  • Playing school
  • Acting as veterinarian
  • Acting as a truck driver
  • Anything the child wants!

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