Playing with your child is key to their development. From birth, all the way through to their teen years, you can engage in activities and play which is age appropriate and builds on your connection. There’s many different ways father’s can engage in play with their child, from taking part in activities, playing dress ups, board games, kicking a ball around, or rough and tumble play, which father’s have a unique part in.
This week we focus on the benefits of role playing, and why taking part in this type of play as a father, really contributes to your child’s social, emotional and cognitive development.
Six reasons why role play is important for a child
- Creativity and imagination
Research finds a child’s ability to think creatively and be imaginative comes from playing. Role playing helps them to exercise their brain and think creatively to develop different scenarios and characters.
- Helps with communication and language
When role playing, children need to use their language and story telling skills to develop and pretend through shared scenarios with their parents or other children.
- Develops social skills
It helps to develop a child’s confidence, negotiation skills and ability to make friends.
- Assists with physical development
Depending on what you’re role playing, it may involve a lot of physical movement. Whether you’re role playing fire fighters and running up and down ladders, or your daughter is giving you a make over. Fine motor skills and hand eye coordination are involved.
- Allows children to act out and make sense of real life situations
- Encourages children to empathise and understand different perspectives
By acting out certain characters and situations, it helps children to put themselves in the shoes of others and understand people differ from one another. It also helps them to understand other’s emotions and behaviour.
Some ideas for role play activities
- Set up a tea party with toy animals and engage in conversations.
- Play shops. Write down a shopping list together and your child is the customer and you are the retail assistant.
- Create your own restaurant. Design a menu, make restaurant signs using cardboard and pretend cook together, or take it one step further, and cook something together.
- Play teachers and students.
- Police or detectives. Set up a scenario where they must investigate a missing item and find clues.
- Play veterinarian using stuffed animals. This type of role play also helps to teach them about compassion and nurture.