Pretend Play & Learning at TN Pediatrics
Is your child pretending to visit the doctor? Or are they pretending to be the doctor giving shots? This is a child’s way of exploring an experience that is common and sometimes confusing or scary. Through these role plays, children become more comfortable and prepared for life events in a safe way. Children often use pretend play to work out more personal challenging life events too, whether it is coping with an illness in the family, the absence of a parent or divorce, or a house fire.
Invite your children to recreate an experience at a doctors office or take it further and add their own twist. During your pretending game, prompt their ideas by asking questions like: “What do you think happened next?” and “What if the doctor’s office was at an amusement park?”
Explore at Home
As a parent or caregiver, you further encourage learning skills and child development as kids engage in pretending. Here are a few children’s activities and tips for pretend play.
Provide dolls and puppets
Make sure your child has ample and regular access to things like dolls, stuffed animals, or puppets. These don’t have to be store-bought; they can be cut out of paper or made from socks. Through imaginative play, children easily ascribe feelings and ideas to these ‘people’ and ‘animals’ and often use them to express, explore and work out their own ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Create “prop boxes”
Prop boxes are something most high-quality early childhood programs have plenty of. They are boxes (or bins, crates, or bags) with themed dramatic play materials in them. It’s like having a creative experience in a box. Examples of popular prop boxes are a flower shop, office, restaurant, post office, and shoe store. Have a few materials in prop boxes and let your children’s creativity take it from there.
No material, environment, or story can take the place of uninterrupted time to play and explore ideas. Pretend play doesn’t fit nicely into twenty minute segments. Be ok with leaving a post office in the living room for a few days to allow your children to fully explore and enhance their creative explorations.
Ollie’s Tonsils by Tony Densley
Tap an exhibit below to learn more about it.