The Benefits of Dramatic Pretend Play for Childhood Development
Welcome to the first Educational Tuesday Tip of 2018! Each Tuesday we will provide information and insight on early childhood education with ideas and activities you can try at home with your child.
This week: Dramatic Pretend Play (Part 1): The Skill Set
Dramatic play is defined by experts as a type of play where children assign and accept roles and act them out. For example, pretending to feed and rock a doll to sleep, fix a leaky tap in the play kitchen, or blast off to the moon in a space ship.
And while this type of play may be viewed as frivolous by some, it remains an integral part of the developmental learning process by allowing children to develop skills in such areas as abstract thinking, literacy, math, and social studies, in a timely, natural manner.
There are basically six skills children work with and develop as they take part in dramatic play experiences.
- Role Playing – This is where children mimic behaviours and verbal expressions of someone or something they are pretending to be.
- Use of Materials/Props – By incorporating objects into pretend play, children can extend or elaborate on their play. In the beginning, they will mainly rely on realistic materials. From there they will move on to material substitution, such as using a rope to represent a fire hose.
- Pretending/Make-Believe – All dramatic play is make-believe. Children pretend to be the mother, fireman, driver, etc. by imitating actions they have witnessed others doing. As the use of dramatic play increases, they begin to use words to enhance and describe their re-enactments.
- Attention Span/Length of Time – Early ves into the field of dramatic play may only last a few minutes, but as the children grow, they will lengthen the time they engage in such activities.
- Social Skills/Interaction – Dramatic play promotes the development of social skills through interaction with others, peers or adults.
- Communication – Dramatic play promotes the use of speaking and listening skills. When children take part in this type of play, they practice words they have heard others say and realize that they must listen to what other “players” say in order to be able to respond in an appropriate fashion. It also teaches them to choose their words wisely so that others will understand exactly what it is they are trying to communicate.
I hope this helps provide a better understanding of how your child can benefit from including dramatic pretend play as part of their daily schedule.
Questions or ideas for future Tuesday Tips articles? I would love to hear from you! Just contact us and let us know what you think.
Enjoy Your Pretend Play This Week and see you next Tuesday for Part 2!
~ Julie and The Activity Box Team