Dramatic play (or pretend play) provides many benefits to your child.
According to an article on Scholastic Parents, The Importance of Pretend Play, pretend play helps with cognitive development in such areas as social and emotional skills, language skills, and thinking skills.
And, in additional to all the wonderful benefits, dramatic play is something most kids enjoy!
Here are ten ways to explore dramatic play:
1. Act out a book. Pick a familiar story and have kids act it out. My girls love to act out the Three Little Pigs. Ready, Set, Read provides a basket full of props to help act out classic fairy tales. She includes several examples of baskets she’s created.
2. Provide a fun pretend play set-up. I set up a snack bar for my girls to play with. We also set up a jewelry store. The possibilities for this sort of play are endless. Think about your child’s current interests. Do they love to help you in the kitchen? Then, set up a pretend-play kitchen area. Do they love to play doctor? Then, set up a hospital or a vet clinic. De Tout et de Rien has many good ideas for this. Check out their paper blood transfusion set-up. (Just a note, De Tout et de Rien is written in French, but please do not let that deter you. She has installed a translator for your benefit!)
4. Play dress-up. It’s easy to lose yourself in dramatic play when you’re dressed for the part. You can find inexpensive items for dress-up at a thrift store or even go through your closet. There may be clothes hanging in there that you no longer wear, but would be perfect for dress-up play. Childhood Beckons wrote a wonderful post with plenty of ideas for dress-up items.
5. Combine sensory play and pretend play. It will make the pretend play seem just a bit more realistic! Use dirt and construction toys to bring a construction site to life. We brought in snow, made a few ice blocks and created an Antarctica scene.
*Bonus Activity: Go outside! My girls have so much fun with dramatic play outdoors. It’s so easy to grab a stick and turn it into a magic wand. They’ve traveled to the moon, through a forest, and even to a magical fairy-tale kingdom without even leaving our backyard.
What is your kid’s favorite form of dramatic play?