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Learning Life Skills Through Pretend Play

Role play may appear to be a very simple activity, yet within it, young children learn practical life skills such as dressing themselves and learning how to care for and interact with others.

Written by: Bellbird  




Pretend play allows children to experiment with and learn about the power of language, and how it affects us and those around us. It also helps them to understand that words give us the means to re-enact situations, to put our point across, and to make ourselves heard and understood.


When children are role-playing they are sometimes acting out various memories or scenarios they may have personally experienced, or something that is of some interest to them. Setting up some basic props such as dress-up clothes, dolls, and household equipment can be a starting point for reenacting elements of family relationships with siblings, parents, or grandparents.

During pretend play, children are experimenting with decision-making, and are becoming aware of the impact their words and actions can have on others. As children learn from experience: from what happens around them, they absorb those experiences and make sense of the world, when engaged in imaginary play. This can often lead to the role play area of a playroom becoming extended by the participants - or may carry over for consecutive days if there is still interest from the children.


Role play may appear to be a very simple activity, yet within it, young children learn many practical life skills such as dressing themselves, and how to cooperate and share with others. Depending upon the age and stage of development, children may like to dress up to take on roles, pretending to be like other people they have observed in the world around them. They may repeat phrases or change their voices to reflect who they are taking on.


It is not always important to have lots of props to encourage pretend play, as imagination is the key, which children have plenty of!



Visit for Resources and Pretend Play Ideas

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