Pretend play - Some Ideas and Activities to Develop Intelligence and Boost Cognition
By Andrew Loh
Pretend play needs parent support and help in sourcing some essential
materials. To boost pretend play in children, parents may like to create
a space for the actual play activity. Supplying a big box of materials
is also another way to promote pretend play. Some of the materials that
could help boost pretend play in children may include the following:
Teacher kit containing a blackboard, duster, pencils, chalk,
books, notes, texts, table, chairs and other materials that are usually
used in a classroom.
Pretend play Doctor kits containing play and
artificial stethoscope, aprons, syringes, bottles, forceps, bandages,
thermometer and others
Pretend play home building kits
Kitchen kits containing all those items that are used in an actual
Large plastic crates, blocks, or boxes to create an artificial room
Painting and writing tools
Phones, phone books and magazines
Garden and outdoor tools
Barbie and other types of dolls
Beauty shops materials
Note: Pretend play sessions are also possible without using the above-mentioned tools.
Playing with others and playing alone
Children can pretend play with others
either at home or in a school setting. Children learn how to pretend
play with other children because it provides them an opportunity to
learn many new things like:
Sharing joy and sorrow apart from materials
Exploring possibilities and options
Sharing experiences with other children
Finding out solutions and improvising them
Developing motivation and success handling skills
Note: At home, children may play
together or play as alone. Playing alone is a restricted adventure
although it provides an opportunity for the child to self-introspect. He
or she can choose and select own materials to play. Children playing
alone need constant support from their parents.
Some of the most common activities for pretend activities are as follows:
Children tea party
Children often pretend play to conduct a tea
party with teddies and dollies. They may like to prepare teas for their
guests and serve them along with cookies and biscuits. They may also
arrange a range of other toys to make them guests. Tea will be served to
these guests and cookies given out in plates. Even, parents can join the
party by asking their children to serve them hot tea and cookies.
Parents may introduce model play sequences like making actions and
showing reactions (serving, drinking, and blowing the tea to cool it
down and others). As the complexity of the play increases, children will
learn a variety of sills.
Dressing up and making action play
Children may learn how to dress up characters and toys. For this,
they need plenty of materials like ice cream containers, shoe boxes,
empty tin cans, robes, clothing, hats, shoes, shawls, old suit cases,
paper bags, cardboard materials etc. They can create their own patterns,
shapes, products and dressed up toys to play and pretend.
Playing doctor and patient
This is one of the best and most used
pretend play method in the world. This is a team game as someone will
play as doctor while others would play as patients. With this game,
children would learn empathy, care and affection for others. This play
also enhances children's ability to think beyond normal and this would
boost cognition and imaginative thinking.
Drama and action plays
Some children are known to produce and conduct their own drama plays
in a team. A drama session involves creating a script, developing a
dialogue, delivering dialogue through action and communicating with
other children on the stage. This pretend play helps children develop
confidence and public posture by removing scare and fright. It also
helps them develop speaking skills and vocabulary.
Playing fairy characters
Young girls love to play by using dolls and Barbie.
The learn how to dress up their toys and dolls with the dress materials
provided within the box. The can learn how to comb hair, arrange cloth,
wear shows for the toys and converse them with fictitious dialogues.
When played in union with other girls, they can learn team building,
cooperation and imagination.
Children create their pretend play
sessions based on their necessities. Children, with their heightened
curiosity level, can easily use their brain to arrive at highly complex
pretend play sessions that can baffle even the adults. In essence, they
are highly creative and task oriented. What they need is constant
encouragement and motivation boost from their parents.
Pretend Play in Childhood: Foundation of Adult Creativity
By Sandra Walker Russ
Sandra W. Russ reviews the theory and research on pretend play and creativity, arguing that pretend play
in childhood provides a foundation for adult creativity. She describes cognitive and affective processes
involved in play and creativity, as well as the possible evolutionary purposes of play and its cultural
In particular, she highlights the importance of pretend play in helping children to access emotional memories
and fantasies and presents interventions designed to encourage children s creativity.