three of our kids playing dress ups

Role Play: more than play

Role play involves imagination, and …

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

- Albert Einstein

It is important to give children the freedom of both structured and unstructured play. When role playing, children are improvising and using their imaginations as well as demonstrating their understanding of the world. Dramatic play is generally unstructured so children can control their script and actions which builds confidence and encourages a strong sense of identity and belonging. When we as parents role play with our children they feel safe, secure and supported. These opportunities can also be the perfect environment for a teaching and learning outcome.  It’s important for the play to be child-led, with parents responding in a way that achieves the desired message or teaching outcome. This way children are more likely to stay engaged (they feel a sense of control) and they will make the connections independently. For example, role playing how we will look after the new baby, how to interact with our friends at kindy or what it will be like to visit the doctor for an appointment.

Dramatic play teaches children social skills, new vocabulary and develops communication techniques in a real and relevant setting that they can understand. When children take on characters they are learning about roles, responsibilities and relationships. My daughter, Evie is always a ‘Mummy’ at the moment and her younger brother has no choice but to be ‘baby’ or ‘puppy’ but that is ok because they are both happy with that! As they play, they are making connections with the world around them, learning about empathy, respect and caring for others. Harry, my son, is learning how to negotiate with his big sister, and by the end they are working on communicating the idea of taking turns.

It’s undeniable that the learning environment and experiences in which ‘role play’ provides, is so important for early learning and development…not only for our children but for us as parents.

In our Craft Boxes, we always include an activity that turns into a role play prop. What role play props have we included in our current pack? Check them out here.

Another great resource is Little Lifelong Learners. Casey has a great Dramatic Play section on her website where you can purchase printables for imaginative play. Check them out here.

What have your kids been role playing lately? Comment below, we love to hear from you. 

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