pretend play

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.

children play in toy kitchen

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. While wooden or plastic sets will last longer, cardboard boxes can be turned into fridges and stoves and sinks. For the stove or sink, turn a box either on its side or upside down. Color or glue on the burners for the stove and cut out a door for the oven. A large plastic container set on the box will make a sink. To make a fridge, cut out the door and add a shelf or two. For a shelf, cut out two slots opposite each other on either side of the box. Slide in a piece of cardboard from one side to the other and let the ends stick out.

As kids cook in a toy kitchen, there is ample evidence of imaginative play. Wooden blocks might be getting stirred along with pretend plastic food. Sipping coffee is accompanied by slurping sounds. What we see on the outside as children play is only a glimpse of what’s happening on the inside. Just to imitate the words and actions of the adults around them, kids have to sort through all the things we say and do to find the ones that make sense for being in a kitchen. They are making countless decisions as they coordinate all the pieces. This practicing and creating requires a great deal of problem-solving, planning, and organizing. If children are playing with someone else, the interaction adds another layer to the play.

Toy kitchen Christmas fun is a simple recipe with basic ingredients: kids and imagination. What play is cookin’ at your house?



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

#21: Construction and Transportation Imaginative Play

Construction and transportation imaginative play appeals to kids of various ages, stages, and interests.  Pretending is a vital part of development. Kids will play with only cars, trucks, and other transportation toys without anything else. Well, without other kinds of toys that is, but with their own actions and  imagination. Although it sounds like a contradiction, … Continue reading #21: Construction and Transportation Imaginative Play