Toddlers Learn Through Make-Believe
is serving tea and muffins to Oscar the Grouch while sporting a
faded felt snowman hat. Not too far away, C.J. is holding a baby
doll and gently taking her temperature with a big plastic thermometer.
What do these two year olds have in common? They're both engaging
in the time-less activity of 'make-believe' play.
make-believe, young children learn about themselves and the world
around them. Little babies playing pat-a-cake are making believe.
Depending on the age of the child, their role playing games will
vary. Imaginative children don't need fancy toys or equipment to
pretend; they're happy with a box and a toilet tissue roll. When
they engage in pretend play with a variety of objects, they're learning
life skills that will help them as adults.
all watched little kids playing dress-up or 'house.' Children can
create an imaginary world anywhere - when molding clay animals,
when helping mom or dad match-up socks (sock puppets are the best
after all.) If they're this creative with just a sock, then think
what they can do with special make-believe props.
parents feel that their children require expensive furniture and
household equipment for pretend play. Remember the little boy with
the refrigerator box in his back yard when you were a kid? Everyone
showed up to help build limitless structures and the play would
go on for hours, or until the box fell apart. Oh well, the hours
spent cooperating together and using colorful imaginations were
worth far more than any expensive jungle gym or playhouse.
spurs the imagination of a toddler or preschool age child? What
type of 'props' should parents provide to encourage make-believe
even further than what kids will do naturally? Here are just a few
- hats, jewelry, scarves, shoes, dresses and shirts, purses or
- lots of plastic bowls with lids, kid size broom/mop/dustpan,
towels, spoons, measuring cups, pots and pans with lids
- blankets, pillow, both male and female baby dolls, old or toy
cell phones, boxes of various sizes for baby beds
- kid size table, cardboard boxes to serve as appliances, furniture
or TV, full-length mirror
make-believe encourages little children to play together, and
is perfect for play groups and for helping shy children overcome
anxiety. Little children have boundless ideas for creative play,
but love it when parents or caregivers take part in the activity.
Many times, imaginative play can help parents realize that their
child is fearful or worried about something in particular. Helping
them talk about their fears through make-believe will often
lessen the child's stress and bring you closer to your child.
your child's imagination through make-believe with simple and
inexpensive toys and props. Your refrigerator box may fall apart,
but the fun of building it will last forever.
the Author: Sherry Frewerd is a Family Child Care Provider and
publishes 'Family Play and Learn' a play and learning resource
for Toddler and Preschool Learning Activities - http://familyplayandlearn.com