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    The power of the children's imagination is an amazing thing. Have you ever watched your child pick up a stone and pretend it is a zooming car, or hop a Lego across the table as if it were a person or a bunny? Your child is using an object to represent something else while giving it action and motion.

     

    Dramatic play or, as it’s sometimes called, pretend play, imitative play, and symbolic play, which is a type of play where children assign and accept roles and act them out. When children act out their own life experiences, it helps them make sense of what is happening in their lives and the world around them.

     

    Dramatic play is a crucial part of early childhood education. It can help you meet your curricular goals and build your children’s developing literacy skills. It allows children to experiment with purposes for literacy they’ve seen at home, to recognize that different tasks require different texts, to produce a wide variety of texts, and to act out stories they have heard. Here are eight dramatic play ideas for your kids.

     

    Kitchen Cooking

    Most kids love to do is to create special dishes in play kitchens. Kids love playing restaurant—playing a waiter taking down orders, cooking up yummy treats in the kitchen, and then serving the customers. And the best part of kitchen play with big kids is that they can often help with real cooking and baking by doing tasks like helping measure and mix ingredients to bake something or tearing lettuce leaves or washing cherry tomatoes for a salad.

     

    Hospital

    Encourage your kids in your care to pretend to be the doctor and patient with a hospital-themed area in your dramatic play center. It is a great way of bouncing ideas off one another to create new ones!  Kids also don’t mind if they use something to imitate something else such as if you do not have a toy phone, a brush for a pretend phone will do.

     

    School

    All children love to play school! Encourage the children to take turns with different roles. The preschoolers in your care will enjoy playing both the teacher and the student.

     

    Cardboard Box Travel

    Parents know that kids don't need expensive toys to have fun and that one of the most beloved and often-used favorite plaything for kids is an ordinary cardboard box. With it, they can create anything their imaginations can think of, from a rocket ship to a car, or even a pirate ship sailing on the high seas and pretend to have lots of adventure and excitement in their box, er, awesome vessel or vehicle.

     

    Puppet Show

    Puppet show are a natural and fun extension of the pretend play that young children engage in so readily. It will help your children develop some important learning skills. Hand Puppet play is imaginative and open-ended and equally freeing for adults. Encourage your kids to have a puppet show!

     

    Playing Dress Up

     

    Who knew something as simple as playing dress up and having a pretend tea party could offer kids so many benefits? When you give your child a box of simple accessories like hats, plastic tiaras, and old Halloween costumes, they can become anyone they can think of, from a princess having a tea party to a good pirate who gives out riches instead of taking them.

     

    Camp Out

    A classic camp out makes a great dramatic play activity! Kids will love pretending to cook food and camp out in the wilderness.

     

    Grocery Store

    Preschoolers will love pretending to buy and sell goods.  Encourage beginning math and calculator skills while providing lots of opportunities for imaginative play with a cash register. Children will also learn currency denominations and have fun handling life-size money.

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