Most children go through a natural period in their development when they play with dolls, role play social situations, make teddy bear picnics and have tea parties. Children look at adults in their lives and mimic the roles they play in society. Role play is very important for young children, it helps them work through important emotions, practice social situations and learn how to live and survive in our world. Here are some super easy ideas for promoting learning for children interested in everyday role-play:
- Emotional and Social Development:
Make feeling dolls with your child out of old socks. We just find materials around our house and work out ways to make things out of them! Old socks are great for stuffing with scraps of material or tissue. Your child could draw the different faces on each doll. Talk about how each doll might feel and what sort of things might make them feel that way. It is important young children learn how to label their emotions. It helps them understand the sensations they are feeling. After children can label emotions, they can then learn how to regulate them. Talk about different ways to make people feel better when they are sad, or ways to solve problems when your child is angry.
- Language Development:
Every moment you are with a child is a great chance to promote language development. Sometimes just stopping your busy life and sitting with the child can be the most powerful tool to promote language skills. Observe what the child is doing and try to talk to them about their interests. Follow the child’s lead, rather than bringing them along on something you are imagining up yourself. If they are organising a picnic for their toys, help them work out how many plates and spoons will need if each toy is to have one each. Make stories for your child’s dolls. Little books are easily made by folding and cutting paper, then stapling along the edge. Your child can draw the pictures. You may like to help them record their words on each page.
- Identity and Belonging:
It is important children develop a sense of identity and belonging in the world if they are to succeed in life. Children who feel secure learn faster. Role play is a great chance to talk through your family relationships. Set up a doll for each member of your extended family and talk about relationships between family members. “Let’s go to Grandad’s house in England.” “That’s mummy’s daddy.”
- Creative Development and Sustainability:
Collect some old boxes and design your own house for the toys. It’s a great chance to talk about recycling. Children can use their own ideas and paint or draw on the boxes!