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As your child zooms past you, he shouts, “I’m the fastest racecar driver there is!” On the surface, he’s just burning energy. But, pretending, or dramatic play, goes much deeper than that. When a child pretends, they are developing and strengthening skills that will go far beyond their preschool classroom. In fact, these skills will help them find success throughout their life!
When your daughter is pretending she’s at a rock concert, using makeshift drums around the house, she’s developing creative-thinking skills that will help her solve the complicated problems she’ll encounter. When your son has been outside all day playing “pirates” with the neighbor, he’s strengthening social skills such as cooperation, negotiation, turn-taking, and role-playing. When he’s cooking for his toys in the play room, he’s developing language skills and strengthening his vocabulary. Your daughter is developing essential social-emotional skills such as empathy for others, understanding social cues and responding appropriately, and the ability to regulate emotions.
In early childhood classrooms, teachers are provided with many resources and the knowledge to help foster this development. There are many ways you too can encourage and foster pretend play. Some ways include: