Why is this important?
Role play is how children learn to ‘act out’ situations or events that are not in the present. They use knowledge of their own experiences to pretend to be someone else (e.g. nurse, mummy, teacher, bus or train driver, shopkeeper) and also act the part of roles from books, television programmes, etc.
What to do
- Gather together some clothes for dressing up. Hats, gloves, bags and other accessories are especially useful.
- Encourage the child to dress up and pretend to be someone different (e.g. nurse, doctor, vet, policeman, teacher, spaceman, cowboy, train driver, or perhaps an animal).
- Help the child get into the game by looking at books which have a story, or pictures about a particular character.
- Make the pretend environment together (e.g. in the shop, use empty packets and boxes and pretend money, purses and bags; make food items from play-dough or draw and cut them out).
- Useful books might be about familiar fairy stories or those which relate to real-life experiences (e.g. shopping, a trip to a café, the dentist).