Play is an important part of childhood. Not only does play develop your child’s imaginative thinking, it also helps develop their language skills, turn-taking, sharing and problem solving skills. It helps children learn about the world around them and figure out how things work. During their first year of life, babies are already exploring through play. Play mats, cot mobiles and sensory toys are actively stimulating your child’s senses as they discover their new world. There are many other types of play that will follow. Today’s post will focus on the early stages of pretend play.
Take a few simple items; a teddy, a play tea set, a little brush, a facecloth etc. Begin by demonstrating one action at a time and encourage your child to copy you. Use hand over hand help if necessary. Pretend to take a drink from a cup, pour some juice, stir the spoon, or brush your hair. Children between 12- 18 months will learn to perform the actions on themselves first. At a later stage (18-24 months) children will begin to direct these actions to another person or toy. Encourage your child to give teddy a drink, brush dolly’s hair, wash Mommy’s face and so on. Comment on what you’re doing so that your child pairs the language with the experience. From about age 2 years, children will learn to act out a series of pretend actions e.g. pour a drink and give it to teddy.