WRITTEN BY I-YATAH KEISHA, EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR AND OWNER OF KIDTABULOUS
Pretend play (imaginative play/ dramatic play) is a great way for children to develop a wide range of skills while using their imagination and having fun.
Children can make sense of the world around them by acting out scenarios and situations in real life. Dramatic play gives children opportunities to practice taking turns, sharing and problem solving. They can express and communicate a range of emotions while engaged in dramatic play. They also are developing their vocabulary and language skills as they play.
Veterinarian’s Office Pretend play
An example of a really fun, pretend play area that you can easily put together and your children will love is a veterinarian’s office.
You can add things like stuffed animals, sheets and towels, doctor tools, lab coats, bandages, band aids, pillows, chairs, cardboard box cages, books about animals and veterinarians, etc. You can even have the children help you find everything you need around the house. Setting up the dramatic play area is half the fun!
Once the veterinarian pretend play area is all set up, it’s time to play!
Tips for Pretend Play
When you are ready to set up the pretend play area, here are some helpful tips:
-You can include almost anything in your dramatic play area. Some good items to start with are clothes, costumes, hats, shoes, scarves, boxes, baskets, dolls, stuffed toys, blankets, paper, writing and drawing materials, cash register, old toys, dishes, masks, jewellery, books, etc.
-Keep it open-ended. The goal is to encourage the children to use their imagination with the materials provided.
-The dramatic play area can be set up anywhere, from under a table, in a tent, on the couches, playroom, or even in a corner of the bedroom or basement.
-The pretend play area should be changed regularly with different props and toys to keep children interested and encourage new ideas and ways to play.
Pretend Play and Cognitive Development
High-quality pretend play is also thought to help promote some aspects of a child’s development, including theory of mind which is important for social interactions and to help children analyze and interpret other people’s behaviour (for a review article on pretend play click here).
Professional child care that comes to your event!
If you live in the Montreal area, make sure you visit the website KIDTABULOUS. Whether you have a wedding, holiday party, corporate event or private event…any adult event with children means that you can hire childcare animators to come take care of the children AND come with activities. Check out their website for details on packages.