Encouraging Pretend Play

21 May 2019

Children play in many ways and their types of play progresses with age, typically starting with exploratory and sensory play in nursery before developing into functional play during their toddler and preschool years.


Pretend play is important for children to develop problem solving, flexible thinking, and logical sequences in their thoughts. It also helps children develop friendships, social skills and is significant for their emotional well-being and the development of language.


You can encourage your child’s development through pretend play with some key strategies at home:

  • Less is more – Pack away unneeded toys. The younger the child, the fewer the toys they require. Children will always play and engage more when there are fewer toys available.

  • Keep it simple - Some of the best play comes from everyday items. The toys do not need to be sophisticated. Use everyday household items from their familiar environment such as cups, spoons, napkins, teddies and dolls.

  • Model - Show your child the ways they can play with toys and the items around them at an early age to spark creativity. Do lots of repetition to show them how to play with new items, then give them a chance to copy you when they are old enough.

  • Act your child’s developmental age and have fun!