October is a month filled with dressing up so let’s talk about the importance of dramatic play. Dramatic play is group pretend play with a common goal or theme. It is the child’s way of learning about the world through imitation. The benefits are many, including the following:
- It supports cognitive development through symbolic play which leads to development of more abstract thought.
- It helps children facilitate their growing understanding of their community.
- Children experiment with vocabulary and literacy tools.
- Children begin to discover purposeful uses for reading and writing.
- Children have the opportunity to interact with other children.
- Children can try out new roles.
- Children learn to share, take turns, and negotiate.
- Children can act out unpleasant experiences in a safe environment.
- It enhances creativity through interaction, transformation, and imagination.
Dramatic play usually starts out with simple themes that are common in a child’s world. At Stony Creek Preschool housekeeping and baby play are regular occurences in the infant and toddler years. Other dramatic play themes are grocery store (old boxes, containers, cash register, paper or grocery list, coupons, cart, and bags), fire station (fire truck, hose, hat, coat, phone, and paper flames to put around the house), restaurant (many types of food, choose a theme like Asian and add a wok, rice containers, chop sticks, etc.) and many more. Lastly, superhero play is always present and can be used in a productive way. Give children props that allow them to help people or the world such as pulleys with baskets, super power rings or bracelet, things to climb, a special car to decorate or fix. Children like to feel powerful. Just make sure they use their power for good and not evil.
You can create some prop boxes for hours of play. Remember to include opportunities for using writing and reading. Many of these items can be found in your home, at the thrift store or the dollar store. Use your imagination or better yet ask your child what they need to make the theme come alive!