Here at TAG we use pretend play to engage children in developing many important skills.
Pretend play can also be called symbolic play. In pretend play, children use items to act out a play scene. They pretend that the object is something else. For example, a child may use a stick as a rocket ship, and a tree as a planet. In pretend play, they begin to use socio-dramatic play to act out play scenes with other children. As children develop, it is important to provide the right kinds of play opportunities to enrich their skill development.
Pretend play involves many skills such as emotions, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, social skills, executive functioning skills such as problem solving and planning, and many more! Pretend play uses many parts of a person’s brain, and is very important for development! Pretend play increases understanding of others and involves many skills. Pretend play assists with literacy skills and creating a narrative as it encourages story telling. It also allows children to work through emotions that may be feeling. Pretend play creates opportunities for relationship development and connection between caregiver and child.
Developmental milestones for pretend play:
|Age||Pretend play skills|
|21 months – 2 years||· May pretend drink from a cup and feed the dolly.
· Usually pretend play at this age mimics daily activities that the child engages in (such as feeding or sleeping).
|2 years – 3 years||· In this age group children to begin to imagine that objects are real.
· They begin to make noises with cars or they pretend to be something else such as an elephant or astronaut.
|3 years-5 years||· In this age group children create more complex play scenes.
· Children begin to act out sequences of actions.
· The scenes may be related to experiences the child has had, or movies or stories that they have experienced.
Simple play ideas for encouraging pretend play:
- Dress ups including old clothes, superhero dress ups or themed dress ups.
- Toys for play scenes include a toy tool box set, cars, stuffed toys, a cooking set, dolls, toy bed and items that can mimic daily activities, and many more!
- A box of toys for a favourite theme such as dinosaurs, farm animals or babies.
How can we help extend play?
- Providing items such as play doh, toilet rolls, simple blocks, sand, grass can allow for many more play opportunities.
- Allow adequate time for play within the child’s environments (i.e school and home).
- Have others the child can play with. Providing a partner for play increases opportunity for challenges in social skills, language and problem-solving skills.
- Provide items to create and extend pretend play.
If you have any concerns regarding your child’s play development, it may be
beneficial to book in with an Occupational Therapist to gather some further information. There
is a team of Occupational Therapists at Therapy Alliance Group who can assist your family!
We have Occupational Therapy appointments available in Beenleigh (link to location page), Chinchilla (link to location) and Toowoomba (link to location) as well as over videoconference or telehealth (link to TeleTAG). Book a phone consult now to discuss your specific therapy needs Book Now.