Pretend Play

Ch. 14 Developmental Benefits of Pretend Play

Children playing in a box
By Donnie Ray Jones, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

READ FIRST– The following resource provides an overview of children’s pretend play and the important skills children develop by engaging in this type of play.

CHOOSE TWO- Select at least two of the articles below to learn more about pretend play during early childhood.

In this New York Times article, Willyard shares insights from several experts about the importance of pretend play for young children.

In this piece from Community Playthings, Ingellis discusses how children use pretend play to understand the world and deal with tragic events occurring around them.

In this article from Community Playthings, Schreiber focuses on how children develop key social and emotional skills while engaging in pretend play.

In this piece from Edutopia, Hobson describes the value of disagreements during pretend play and how this supports children’s development.

In this Edutopia article, Kaplan reflects on how the current events of 2020 might influence children’s pretend play and how adults can support children as they make sense of the world around them during this type of play.

CHOOSE ONE– Select at least one of the videos below to watch to learn more about key aspects of the developmental benefits of pretend play.

This video addresses the developmental stages of pretend play for children birth through age 5 as well as how to support young children’s pretend play.

This video focuses on children birth through age three. First, they provide an overview of children’s play during this age range before providing more specific details of how children’s pretend play develops during the first three years of life.


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Play and Learning in Early Childhood Education Copyright © by Elisabeth Johnston is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.