At any Cuddles Childcare Centre in the Perth area, you will see children busy playing at pretty much any given time. Our motto is “learning through play” and we work very hard to ensure that your child is engaged and playing as much as possible.
It Starts as a Toddler
Children develop the ability to pretend as toddlers. At 18 months or so, they begin to develop the ability to relate things to each other symbolically, such as pretending that a toy is a real version of what it represents, or that a banana is a telephone. When they develop the ability to substitute one item for another in their mind, it is a precursor to many other types of learning.
At this point, it will be necessary to let them know the banana isn’t really a phone, but that it is great to pretend.
Preschoolers begin to develop the ability to role-play with their friends. This is a large part of their social development and should always be encouraged. As they play the roles of “princess” or “firefighter,” they become more aware of what others do, how they think and how they feel.
Sometimes, these roles lead to conflicts. When they do, it is a great “teaching opportunity.” Children can be encouraged to trade roles or to communicate their own feelings and expectations.
How to Encourage Pretend Play
A costume or “dress-up” box is great for providing kids with a plethora of roles to play. It stretches the boundaries of their imaginations. Encourage them to play roles, dress up and play games with their friends.
Ask your kids to go around your house and find every item they can pretend is a car or any item you choose. This helps them learn to associate symbolic relationships.
Give them a Theme
Suggest a theme such as superheroes or cartoon characters. Allow their imaginations to run wild.
Contact us to learn more.