Your child’s primary occupation is to play so naturally they will begin to explore pretend play as their solitary play becomes more sophisticated. Provide your child with props, puppets, and ordinary household items along with their already existing figurines/stuffed animals to set the stage for imaginary play. Through pretend play your child will explore who they are and the many uses of ordinary things. They will exercise their physical abilities, social skills, emotional maturity and sense of humor.
- Encourage pretend play while using play dough! Bring out the baking tins, pegs for candles, or marbles for chocolate chips. Decorated cupcake papers or felt crowns can be placed on each (stuffed animal) guest as a party hat. Have your child dress up for the occasion—the more outrageous, the better! Complete the scene with party horns and balloons to make the event even more realistic.
- Pretend play encourages creativity and role playing. It also gives your child an opportunity to rehearse social skills while building self-confidence. Allow them to be the host at dinner time and have them seat the family. They can put on a chef’s hat and announce what is on the menu as the food is being brought to the table.
- Props for imaginary play do not have to be expensive or complicated to be beneficial. Simply pull out the pots and pans, empty boxes, spools of thread, paper bags and noise makers. Shredded paper, Easter grass and cotton balls will add to the fun. Play along with your child to get them started. Pick a theme and go with it!
Pretend play is a vital component of your child’s development. Enjoy watching this aspect unfold in your child!
Lisa Director of Fun, Co-Founder & Mother of Four Registered Licensed Occupational Therapist (OTR/L) Sensory Integration and Praxis Test Certified (SIPT)
Each HOOT for Kids blog represents our point of view but should not replace diagnosis and treatment from your own doctor or therapist. Be sure to provide supervision with small parts.