Sammi is in the throes of pretend play. She loves to imagine we are riding her tricycle to California, or that we are going grocery shopping, or, her all-time favorite, that she is changing baby diapers (for hours on end!)
Today is kicking off a short series on pretend play. I’m positive we will have more weeks focused entirely on pretend play, so this is just the beginning.
Pretend play takes a lot of imagination. We can encourage that imagination by offering some physical items to spark our children’s creativity. We have a dress-up box. It started out as a few items randomly scattered throughout Sammi’s toys. One day I decided to formalize the dress-up box. As I wandered around gathering items I was surprised by how much we actually had. I was so excited to put it all in one place and introduce Sammi to it. She was about 18 months when I first played dress-up with her. She loved the hats but wasn’t really interested in the rest. Every week or so I’d pull it out and introduce her to something new. It took a while, but one day I opened the lid and she went to town! She didn’t wait for me to pull anything out. She dove right in and brought items to me to put on her.
Here are some suggestions for a Dress Up Box:
Something interesting I learned about pretend play is that there are two styles of pretend play: patterners and dramatists. Patterners pay more attention to the properties of objects, shape and form. Dramatists are more focused on storytelling, imagination and social interactions. When given the exact set of objects and told to group like objects together, patterners will put people together, animals together and blocks together. Dramatists, on the other hand, will group ones together that make a story.
Both styles are pretend play and a natural part of the way children discover the world around them. Sammi is definitely a dramatist! She is a storyteller extraordinaire. It is so fun to see her sit all her babies down and read them a book and have them sing songs with her. What style of pretend play do you have at your house?