Whether we call it dramatic play, imaginative play, creative play, role playing, make-believe or just plain pretending… it’s a particularly important part of healthy childhood development.
Dramatic play allows children to perform different roles and test their own creativity and the reactions and responses of those around them. Children learn many things through trial and error, and what better and safer way to try out various scenarios and situations than through pretending you are in them!
We often encourage the children to imagine themselves in vital roles within our community, through dress-up and using child-friendly props to emulate the tools and equipment that these occupations use regularly. Some of our centres even set up their very own veterinary practice after being inspired by our regular pet visits and Kindi Farm experiences.
There are so many benefits to dramatic play, including how much fun it is… so here are just a few more:
- Developing social interaction skills.
Dramatic play helps our little learners to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. This sort of pretend play helps children to see things from another person’s perspective teaching skills such as empathy and understanding.
- Relieving emotional tension and stress.
Children can work out stress and anxiety through dramatic play. When children experience life events that they find hard to understand they will often re-enact these events through play. This can sometimes provide parents and caregivers with useful insight and opportunities to offer support.
- Developing language and communication skills.
During pretend play children often talk from the perspective of their pretend role or the character they are playing. Children express themselves more and discuss their wishes at that moment, no matter how farfetched or silly.
- Understanding symbolism, building ingenuity.
Dramatic play inevitably requires props and children can become extremely inventive when absorbed in a make-believe world… bananas can be phones, bowls can be hats, and socks can be snakes or puppets.
- Taking control, feeling empowered.
With dramatic play, children can control the situation, and often choose safe or powerful roles such as the teacher, the parent, the king or the queen! During pretend play a child’s dreams and wishes can come true, with no consequences.
- Recognising what is real and what is fantasy.
Children tend to be very apt at switchingbetween real life and make-believe, they may even break from character to ask for a drink or take a break, happily going back to a silly voice or donning a cape once again, when they are ready.
These are all skills that will help your child as they grow and prepare for big school, and at Cherry Bridge Station we provide a safe and inclusive environment where children can learn through creative play while exercising their active imaginations.