pretend play

Mayhem and Messy Play #11: Dress-up Messy Play

Dress-up messy play is usually considered imaginative or pretend play, but it can make quite a mess with dress-up props strewn about and made-up faces. Labels do no matter. Whatever it is, the play is coming from within, as kids explore and create.

dress-up messy play

Kids will dress-up in practically anything, not just old clothes. A tickle trunk can have costumes, shoes, towels, and bright or sparkly bits of fabric. Paper bags and cardboard tubes can be decorated too. Wings and crowns are often needed, so some materials to make these is useful, as are super-hero capes and cloaks.

As kids dress-up in different clothes and costumes they are also trying-on different people. Kids see other people from the outside and do not have much information about what is happening on the inside. They have to imagine what it’s like to be the store clerk, the brave hero, the mom, the dad, the baby, the pet, the boss, the rescuer, and even the bad guys. Dressing-up as these characters is part of the play package.darth vader dress-up play

Although kids often do this even without any props at all, dressing-up serve to explain to us the new reality. Costumes and other props invite children into an experience. Cosplay is immensely popular with adults in the same way. We can take off who we are and put on someone else and create a different version of the world.

About the age of two, kids will start engaging in pretend play. It could be just pretending to take a sip of something from an empty play cup but the play will become much more involved. Like other play activities, it’s a vital part of early learning and development. New pathways and connections are formed in the brain and children practice thinking skills like problem-solving, organizing, making choices, comparing, and more. On an emotional level, kids can explore feelings and ways to interact with others. This helps for empathy and understanding. Physically, dress-up play is active and bodies get plenty of exercise.dress-up play

Both boys and girls enjoy dress-up play and will wear clothes associated with the other gender. They will also both try out make-up and like to decorate their faces, by themselves or with help. How else can they explore the different parts of the world around them? Will dress-up messy play be a play-of-the-day?


Practical Pretend Play for Kids – Magic Wish for Preschool & Kindergarten #8

Practical pretend play and resources for kids is magic wish #8. For this blog series, parents are sharing something they wish could be in early programs. Even if it’s imaginary, pretend play helps kids with the real world.

playing in the kitchen

When kids pretend, they are taking a slice of reality. They juggle this bit all around and stretch it in all directions. This kind of play is children’s way of figuring out how the real world works. If we look at the world from a child’s perspective, they see many different people from the outside. They can only guess what that feels like on the inside. So kids try-on the character of the boss, the bad guy, the rescuer, the leader, the worker, the store clerk, the superhero, the sports player, and others each time they try on a costume.

Many times, kids don’t even need the costumes or props. They can do all this with imagination. But having them is a kind of permission. Having some resources for practical pretend play tells kids they are allowed to try on different roles. While we think kids are testing our patience all the time, they are trying to figure out the boundaries of what’s acceptable and what’s not. This knowledge comes from experience. Plus, when other people see kids in costumes or dress-up clothes, they know what to expect. Would we let kids growl at us and order us around? Not usually, but if a child is wearing a dragon hat or a pirate costume we would.

In addition, props give kids a chance to be hands-on and personal with real items that grownups use. For example, Nicolle suggests having some of the things from a restaurant. These could be order pads, cash registers, tablecloths and napkins, and serving trays. Or, perhaps a gift shop, with an assortment of things to buy. Kids would also love to play with real tools and real musical instruments. This is the practical aspect of practical pretend play.

practical pretend play

Pretend or imaginary play is a vital part of children’s development. Can it be your child’s play-of-the-day?


Marching Orders: Value of Pretend Play for Kids

The value of pretend play for kids is easy to miss; after all, kids are just playing, aren’t they? But as they play, they are managing an entire world. They are creating order out of confusion and sorting out all the bits of information they have collected so far. As they pretend and imagine, they even stretch the boundaries of time and space. This is a massive matching

March is the only month using an action for its name. When it comes to kids, they are all about action, body, mind, and emotions. You have likely heard the expression about ‘marching orders.’ During pretend play, kids are in charge, they are the ones giving the marching orders. That is, they are creating the rules and figuring out what people say and do. They are ordering their world.

Our brains and bodies are connected to such a degree that just imagining an action is enough to trigger a response. For example, when we think about going up in an elevator, our eyes go up. Imagining can also affect our emotions. During imaginative or pretend play, kids can feel both positive and negative emotions to a more controllable level. They can feel scared, angry, frustrated, surprised, or hurt without being overwhelmed. Because at that point in time, they are in charge, kids can explore a range of situations and match the feelings.

darth vader dress-up play

To a child, adults seem to be able to do anything and be anyone. This can be fascinating to kids, and so they too want to be the boss, the mom and dad, restaurant waiter, store clerk, nurse, dentist, police officer, robber, bus driver, and whoever else they think of. Often, they want to be the baby, or a family pet, complete with the appropriate sounds.

The brain is particularly active during pretend play. Some thinking skills are choosing, planning, and problem solving. Kids are using complex language and special vocabulary as they interact with others, either real or imaginary.value of pretend play

The value of pretend play is essential to children’s development and learning. Can your child have some pretend play fun today.


Toy Kitchen Christmas Fun Adds Imaginative and Pretend Play to the Day

Toy kitchen Christmas fun cooks up play and learning for kids. Real kitchens are super busy now and kids often imitate what we do as they play. Toy kitchens are not just girl toys. Lots of boys enjoy playing in them as well. Since it’s Christmas, it might be elves playing in the kitchen anyway. … Continue reading Toy Kitchen Christmas Fun Adds Imaginative and Pretend Play to the Day

Dragon Dress-up Pretend Play: Imagination Helps with Reality

Imaginative play can help kids understand and cope with reality, so open up the tickle trunk—it’s time for some dragon dress-up pretend play. This play roars. A tickle trunk is just another name for the box, basket, old suitcase, or drawer that holds the collection of dress-up clothes and accessories. Halloween isn’t the only time … Continue reading Dragon Dress-up Pretend Play: Imagination Helps with Reality

Halloween Pretend Play: Kids Plus Costumes = Cosplay aka Dress-Up

Kids have been enjoying dress up and costume play (cosplay) for generations but Halloween pretend play is certainly special. Everyone else plays too! While cosplay generally means putting on the costume as well as the words and actions of a specific character, kids add their own interpretations. A costume, or any dress-up play, invites explorations. … Continue reading Halloween Pretend Play: Kids Plus Costumes = Cosplay aka Dress-Up

Learning and Fun Bus Activities #3: Bus Pretend Play for Kids

What’s Powering the Bus? Imagination! Have imagination will travel; hop on with us for a bus pretend play activity for kids. Destination: wherever we want. Adults must be accompanied by kids. Pretend play happens anytime and anywhere with kids. Plus, they can turn anything into what they need. For bus pretend play, a few chairs … Continue reading Learning and Fun Bus Activities #3: Bus Pretend Play for Kids

Before I Go to Kindergarten #16: Pretend Play Helps Learning

According to Einstein, “Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.” Therefore, a powerful activity for preparing kids for school is pretend play. We can’t see from the outside but as kids engage in pretend play their brains are seriously working. Brains are connecting different bits of information kids already know to actions and emotions. For example, … Continue reading Before I Go to Kindergarten #16: Pretend Play Helps Learning

Olympics #4: Opening Ceremony Inspires Pretend Play Parade

The Olympic Games Opening Ceremony can inspire today’s activity: a pretend play parade and performance with music and dancing. Kids can be Team Imagination. Most kids, little and big, love a parade and what could be better than being in one? Like the athletes, they can march around, wave flags, and cheer. Hopefully, the weather … Continue reading Olympics #4: Opening Ceremony Inspires Pretend Play Parade

Space Activities #11: Space Pretend Play

As Einstein said, “Imagination will take you everywhere,” so for a play-of-the-day, kids can blast off with some space pretend play. Space pretend play doesn’t necessarily require any materials, but kids might want to have a few things. A space suit is beyond most dress-up tickle trunks, although kids are great at turning a small … Continue reading Space Activities #11: Space Pretend Play