When our kids engage in dramatic play, they are actively experimenting with the social and emotional roles of life. Through cooperative play, they learn how to take turns, share responsibility, and creatively problem-solve. When children pretend to be different characters, they have the experience of "walking in someone else's shoes," which helps teach the important moral development skill of empathy. It is normal for young children to see the world from their own egocentric point of view, but through maturation and cooperative play, they will begin to understand the feelings of others. They also build self-esteem when they discover they can be anything just by pretending!
Nurture the Imagination at Home:
Not enough pretend play at your house? Consider creating a prop box or corner filled with objects to spark your preschooler's fantasy world. Items might include:
- Large plastic crates, cardboard blocks, or a large, empty box for creating a "home"
- Old clothes, shoes, backpacks, hats
- Old telephones, phone books, magazines
- Cooking utensils, dishes, plastic food containers, table napkins, silk flowers
- Stuffed animals and dolls of all sizes
- Fabric pieces, blankets, or old sheets for making costumes or a fort
- Theme-appropriate materials such as postcards, used plane tickets, foreign coins, and photos for a pretend vacation trip
- Writing materials for taking phone messages, leaving notes, and making shopping lists
|A friend in Toddler 4 feeds her baby a taco.|
|This friend is putting her baby to bed.|
|A friend feeds his baby some soup.|