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.