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Kerryn Palmer Practical Parenting - 2 June

Practical Parenting-Dramatic Play

Today we are looking at dramatic play.

- What is dramatic play? In dramatic play Children take on different roles. They can pretend to be adults, super heroes, animals, vehicles. They use their imaginations to make believe.

It can be anything from pretending to make the toy fire truck drive to a fire, to a complex game of doctors and patients.

- Why is dramatic Play Important?

Dramatic play helps children's development in areas such as:
 * Social skills - Learning to play well with others
 *Developing Empathy - Copying the actions and emotions of others helps to develop empathy
 *Creative Thinking
 *The Development of Oral language
 * Learning to visualise and make believe helps with all areas of schooling e.g. Maths and Reading
 *Emotional Development i.e. working through fears and emotions
 (Some ideas from: Sara Smilansky's forward: A Practical Guide For Teaching Young Children. Scholastic 1991)

Making your own.
You don't have to buy flash and expensive dress ups from toy stores, although they are lovely, they are not necessary, you can make your own

Such as:

- Pirate costumes from old pants and shirts cut up to look frayed.
- A pillowcase with a belt turned into a knights costumes
- A batman mask from a simple mask and with stuck on triangles to make the points 
- A batman cape from a black plastic bag ( For older children)
- A superhero cape from a blanket
- Masks from paper bags
- Hats from paper plates
- Animal ears from paper and tails from stuffed, sewn up material

It doesn't take much to encourage kids to use their imaginations and be creative but sometimes it is great to give them a starting idea, you could get them to help you to make something, or even just get a big box and put it in the middle of the room.

- A Post-box made from  a large box with a slit and some letters
- Props from a fairy story-eg three chairs and three beds for The Three Little Bears
- A bed and  a doctor's bag
- A Pirates chest with 'treasure' in it
- A Boat made from a box
- A Steering wheel and some chairs
- A Shop set up with play money and food items
- A Cafe
- A School
- A TV set made from a box
- A large box-see,  what they come up with!

- Let your child take the lead, don't dictate the play-follow their ideas and lead
- Encourage them by asking what shall we play? What is my job?
- Let the child come up with the solutions-even if you think they might fail.
- Try to avoid stereotyping

Dramatic play is awesome and kids love it!