I absolutely love pretend play for toddlers, preschoolers, and beyond. I think that it helps children explore the world in a safe environment. It also helps in many other ways, such as fostering their imagination, cooperative play, learning life skills, and scientific questioning. This category will feature different ways that I use pretend play in our house and many ways that I would love to use it in the future. The following backs up my claim that pretend play is amazing.
THE RESEARCH: Psychology Today Article
I read an interesting article in support of pretend play from Psychology Today. The article looks at the benefits of pretend, or make-believe, play in children from one and a half to seven years old and considers it to be a “vital component to the normal development of a child.” I recommend taking a look at it, but if you don’t have time, I understand so I listed some of the advantages mentioned below.
- exposes children to different vocabulary and language structure
- helps children express their feelings
- uses problem solving skills with other children and adults
- exposes children to empathy and communication
- helps children learn to be flexible
- fosters imagination and curiosity
- promotes creativity in fact…
- “Root-Bernstein’s research with clearly creative individuals such as Nobel Prize winners and MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant awardees, indicated that early childhood games about make-believe worlds were more frequent in such individuals than in control participants in their fields”
There are so many different ways to use pretend play with your children. It can range from setting up some train tracks to creating a life-like environment in your home. Here are some thought on the latter….
- Start by thinking about the places your child loves to frequent. The Post Office, the supermarket, the salon, etc. are great ideas because your child already has some knowledge on these locations. Plus it is easy to collect materials that will make your pretend play experiences authentic.
- I feel the more realistic you can make the play, the better. Every little detail helps. It helps to go through whatever environment you are going to reenact to plan out your pretend environment. For example, look around your post office if you are going to set one up for your child. See if there are any brochures or signs that you can use or replicate.
- The more details the better also. If you are creating a supermarket, include coupons, a list, and/or even bags to put the veggies in (just use an alternative to plastic).
I am so excited to further exploring ideas for pretend play! I am also so excited to use some of my ideas in my classes. I highly recommend you try to use it with your child-who knows maybe they will be a Nobel Prize winner one day! Enjoy!