3 – 4

Pretend play


Pretend play

What to do with this activity?

Children often enjoy pretend games where they practise things and copy people they have seen. They could pretend to be:

   - a waiter in a cafe. Get them to pretend to write down your order...
   - a shopkeeper selling you things.
   - a doctor. They can take your temperature or bandage your arm. 

Join in the play and take on the role your child gives you and follow their lead. You can help set up things up for play too. For example:

   - the counter for the shop with items for sale
   - a train made with chairs,
   - let them try on and dress up in your hats, shoes or clothes for fun.

They might want to dress up, feed or care for teddies and dolls too. 

Have fun listening to the stories they tell you about who they are and what they are doing.

  • Why am I doing this?

    One of the ways children learn is through play. A child who is playing is refining learning skills that continue to develop during childhood and beyond. "Pretend play" is important for developing your child's language skills. Children make up their own games, but playing games with others helps their concentration and social skills. Play can also help to show what children know and understand.

  • How can I do more?

    Spending time playing with your child is a great way of helping them learn. Games like "Simon says" and "One, two, three red lights" are great fun. There are lots of activities you can do like playing card games or board games when you can have a quiet time together. Your child can learn the rules by watching a dry run first. Then you can play for real. An important thing to learn is that you don't always win. It can be good for young children to win, to give them confidence but learning to lose is important too. There will be many times in life when you don't win and learning to cope with that is a good life skill you can teach your child too. 

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