Stages of pretend play
Pretend play is a very important part of the developmental aspect which is very normal as well helps in enhancing the cognitive, emotional, language and social skills. Also through pretend play a child is naturally learning to solve problems, think creatively and critically.
Researchers have identified stages in pretend play, and given below is an amalgamation of a few, and these stages are observed in a typical development. Researchers like Weitzman and Greenberg, Sherri Johnson opinionated that pretend play starts by around the age of 12 months and may end up pretend playing for 5-6 hours per day.
During 12-18 months toddlers try to pretend play simple actions like sleeping, brushing or eating with real objects. Pretend play is restricted to pretending about themselves. From 18-24 months the pretend play moves from pretending on oneself to pretending with others. Children will play with toys or other adults, still using real objects for pretending at the same time making imitating adult like actions.
From 24-30 months a toddler’s language development moves past from using single words to speaking in half broken, grammatically not so correct sentences. actions that a child performs are the ones the child is very familiar with. At this point, the child is able to pretend roles by combining lots of actions like putting a baby to sleep, or imitating a cooking process. Cognitively they are able to think of not using realistic objects frequently. 30 – 36 months actions tread the path of less familiar roles and pretending is possible without the real objects and as make believe imaginary objects.
36 months on wards, children are in the preschooler stage, they socialize with other children, have complex thinking capacity, and hence they are able to pretend play in a group. Children role play on imaginary themes, use props, can scrip small dramas.
Pretend play provides for the child with a lot of opportunities to relive moments that they might have observed in their surroundings, giving them a way to vent their feelings and a sense of satisfaction.
By Dr Srividya K