Look for your child to...
Use imagination to generate a variety of ideas.
Your child may...
- Make up words, songs or stories.
- Engage in pretend play.
- Make changes to a familiar story by adding actions or characters.
- Express ideas through art, construction, movement or music.
You can support your child...
- Play pretend games, talk silly talk or sing rhyming songs that either you or your child make up. Make up different ending to a favorite story.
- Act out pretend stories with your child, and let her be the teacher or the doctor or the mother.
- Let you child take the lead in pretend play. Try to expand her activities (e.g., say “Oh, you’re a firefighter? There’s a fire here. Please come and bring your hose and ladder!).
- When she is pretending to be someone, talk to the character she is role-playing. If she is pretending to be a waitress, talk to her in the way adults would talk in a restaurant (e.g., say, “I’d like to see a menu, please.”).
- Many young children have imaginary friends. If your child has pretend playmates, let her talk and play with them.
- Provide materials that encourage make-believe play. These could include dolls and doll clothing and equipment, hand and finger puppets, small plastic animals, Little People play sets (including figures of different cultures and races), empty shoeboxes, and art supplies for making play sets.
- Use an old suitcase or box to house pretend-play supplies such as dress-up clothes, tools for various occupations and writing materials.
- Provide child-size equipment. Include kitchen utensils and dishes, tools for various occupations, writing materials, sinks, stoves, tables, chairs, beds, etc.
- Avoid props for pretend play that promote stereotypical behavior, aggression and insensitivity to violence. These might include realistic-looking toys guns, swords and other weapons, and action figures based on characters from violent TV shows an movies.
- Limit the time your child spends watching television or playing video games. Encourage your child to “play the story” or “make up a new ending” to TV shows or videos you have carefully chosen.