Play acting is a great way to learn, here are some hints on the props you'll find useful. Pretend games and role play are a great way for preschoolers to develop and practice essential skills, from language and communication to social skills and creativity. A child’s capacity for imagination is incredible, however props can really help to bring the games alive and provide some inspiration. There are two main kinds of pretend play that children participate in – dramatic play, where they act out roles, and ’little worlds’ in which they move people, vehicles and animals in pretend worlds. In both cases, children tell simple stories – the basis of these are her own experiences, from everyday life like the things she reads, sees on TV and those she imagines. Of course the experiences that imagines you have are based only on the bits she sees – so going to work might involve an awful lot of getting ready, but not a lot of actually being at work!
• Lots of toys are available that are based on household items, look for kitchens, washing machines, cleaning equipment for example
Playing at being grown up
A very popular form of pretend play – she wants to be you so you could give her props that really help bring it alive.
• Kitchens – a toy oven, sink or a cardboard box that you’ve worked on to look a bit like a real one
• Give her your old equipment like saucepans, plastic plates and cups
• If she needs some food to play with too be careful what you give. You could try toy food that is available in most toy stores, or think about making her some mini sandwiches or other safe food.
Mummy goes to work in a car so let her do that too.
• Ride ons work perfectly as pretend cars, failing that a box can make a good substitute if you can attach a steering wheel.
Tools of your Trade
Give her items that you use for work, or always carry with you.
• Handbag full of ’essentials’
She sees you making up every morning; let her do the same when she plays.
• Let her try your make-up under supervision, but keep mascara out of the way as she might poke her eye with it.
A great way to start getting prepared for first day of school, let her play at being there already, either as a teacher or student.
• Notebooks and pencils
• Uniform – tie and schoolbag
Out and About
She sees people doing different jobs all the time; give her some props to let her give their jobs a try.
• Shopkeepers – tins of food, calculator or toy cash register, baskets, little bits of paper cut up for receipts, play money
• Ticket man on the bus or train – hat, name badge, pieces of card cut out for receipts, stamper if you have one
Real friends are not always around so a few on call will come in handy. With these friends she can practice her social skills and nurturing.
• Play people
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.