Thursday, May 16, 2013


Connecting Families through Creative Play: Pretend Play

If I were a child development researcher, I believe I would focus my attention on pretend play.  The process by which we learn to pretend is fascinating to me.  While Isabel still doesn't recognize herself in the mirror, Elijah is well into the phase of replicating real-life experiences on a smaller scale.  He gets in his car, drives around the house, and then, like a true city boy, says, "There's no parking spot.  I have to drive around the block." He pretends to cook, to shop, to eat.  He dropped one of his plastic eggs into the wrong container, then said, "Oops!  I dropped the eggshell.  Just like Daddy does." (Kurt claims this only happened one time.)

So, pretend play has certainly come to our house.  But today, we were at the park with a class of slightly older children, maybe closer to four years old, and a few of the girls were engaged in an elaborate make-believe scenario.  One was the mom, and the other two were the children.  I heard the one little girl say, "I have to go to work now, but don't be sad.  I'll be back soon."  This to me represents the next level of pretend play, which involves taking on the persona of someone else. 

Then, there is also the pretend play wherein the child uses little people, animals, etc, to act out a scene.  Does this come before or after pretending to be someone else?  I would guess after, but I don't know.

Finally, I got to thinking about older kids and adults.  What happens when we get "too old" to play pretend.  Well, fortunately, it doesn't happen to everyone.  If it did, I think we would be without some great actors and fiction writers.  I hear other kinds of role playing can be fun, too, but this is a family blog, so I won't get into that.

What are your thoughts on pretend play?  Clearly, I have many, but I'd like to hear yours, too.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lisa! So fun to catch up on your blog and see your adorable little ones! Liam seems to be imagining things half of the time so it was fun to read this topic! It think the progression probably varies by child and experience (second sibs may pretend earlier and different ways). Liam's first pretending was with his Little People farm, but this was something that I had modeled when playing with him. As we added more Little People sets, I saw him making the characters talk more and more and suddenly the farm animals were riding the bus to the amusement park. Sometime after Halloween, we saw pretending in other ways, "I'm a witch" as he held a cornucopia on his head and straddled a broom. Soon after my vac hoses were claimed by the little fireman in the house. This morning I woke up to Liam talking to a ghost in his room. A few minutes ago, he turned the cozy coupe on its side, stood on top, opened the door, and yelled, "I'm going down in the basement to get some tools." Then he got inside. As I write this, he's running around with a vac hose on his head yelling "Here comes the unicorn!" Overactive imagination? The fun never ends! He has even done some pretending with body parts, but that I will have to call you about! :) Can't wait to see what our little ones pretend next!