Pretend play, Make believe, Play acting…an innate form of play that we have all experienced in our childhood. And that continues to remain an integral part of childhood.
Your toddler will inevitably use props, whether toys or objects around the house and enact some familiar rituals of their own day or things they have seen or experienced. Even older children engage in creating their own worlds and stories. Many a summer afternoon have been spent in the throes of such play. Involved play, that is very entertaining!
Apart from being engaging, pretend play helps your child in myriad ways.
Pretend play allows children to initiate role plays. Playing different roles, allows children to explore different perspectives. Children are the receivers of care, parental attention, safety instructions, all which come with the lay of the land of childhood. In play, they explore being the caregiver to a doll or a teddy and reverse their roles. It is very natural for young children to see the world through the lens of a very self-centered view. To build empathy, an appreciation of a different point of view is a process that pretend play contributes to.
When children participate with their friends they are actively investigating social and emotion roles of life. They learn co-operation, taking turns and actively problem solving. The learn more about the world and themselves. They learn to build a plan of action, assign roles and tasks and even transfer knowledge from one situation to another.
Pretend play helps children make meanings of their day-to-day experiences such as toilet learning, doctor visits, social outings, interactions with teachers and friends and so on. They also flesh out some of the themes, events and ideas that are on their mind such as the birth of a sibling, changing cities, death of a grandparent etc. They bring to life their own ideas of forts and wars, knightly ceremonies and discovery of new lands. They make their own picnics, become anyone they like - from a window washer to a doctor, from a pirate to an astronaut in their play.
Children will often find their own props to use in their play. Some of Toyroom’s offerings that children love to use for pretend play are listed below: