From a very early age, most children have great imaginative power and creative ability. This is often expressed in creative role play which helps children to explore the world around them. Children will role play scenes they have participated in or seen; you will see them shopping, caring for a baby, making a meal, doing chores around the house, helping their toys to learn things, or building cubbies. As they start to create, build, and tell their story they are developing important thinking and vocabulary skills.
Children will at times want you to be involved in their creative role play. As adults we can be a bit self-conscious and find it hard to really get into imaginative play. However, showing your curiosity, imagination and creative thinking will encourage your child to do the same.
Like all areas of learning and development, the skills built in creative play are enriched through practise and experience. By being involved when they would like you to be and providing them with time, space and materials you can support your child’s learning through creative play.
- Make sure your children have some quiet time to use their imaginations and be involved in creative play.
- Turn off TV and screens. This can help to provide the opportunity for your children to be creative in their play.
- You can join in with their role-play by asking questions about what they are doing or engaging in the pretend activity. “Oh, teddy doesn’t look very well, what is wrong?” “Excuse me, but I have a patient that also needs some attention”.
- Be guided by them in the role-play. Try to go along with their story and not take over or control their story.
- Encourage them to use language in their role by asking questions and getting them to explain things to you. i.e., “Could you please tell me how much this can of soup costs in your shop?” Or “Can you tell me about the treatment you are going to give my dog at your vet clinic please?” Or “Can you tell me what the best thing is to order at your restaurant please?”
- Have some role play props on hand. Kids don’t need a lot to create imaginary stories, but it can help to have some blocks and other toys or household items that can be built into a story.
- Take a photo to remember the moment. Photos can provide opportunities for further talking and creative thinking at a later stage.