Let’s Pretend!

Let’s Pretend

My favourite thing that Darcey got for Christmas is her little kitchen. It’s not just because we, as a family, love food and cooking or that Darcey loves eating but it’s super cool to pretend to do those things too! (I’m a much better pretend chef than real one!) It was so amazing how quickly she picked up how to do ‘real’ things with her kitchen. She was ‘mix-mix-mixing’, frying plastic foods and seasoning her meals.


Pretend play, while fun, is really good at helping a child’s development. Not just at Darcey’s age (18 months) but as they get to school age and beyond.

Children learn about themselves and the world.

Pretend play experiences are some of the first and best ways that a child will learn about their interests, abilities likes/dislikes and what they do and don’t find funny. They’ll act out and experiment with role play and work to make sense of what they’ve seen their parents/extended family do. It’s a fun and safe way for them to explore these scenes and scenarios.

They work out scary, new or confusing life issues.

Children like to play ‘Mummies and Daddies’ or ‘Doctors and Nurses.’ If you’ve ever watched them, you’ll see them caring for a (sometimes) crying baby or maybe watch a child give another their injections. It’s their way of exploring an experience that could be any of the things in the heading but by relating to them in this way it can make them more prepared for these future events.

They will develop the important social and complex thinking skills they’ll need in later life.

By pretending, children aren’t just engaging in a simple play activity. It requires them to think from different, even multiple perspectives, strategise and communicate. They’ll learn to cooperate and consider other’s view points. They will be able to transfer these skills to other pretend situations and eventually, real life.


Pretend play promotes emotional intelligence.

Our relationships and interactions with others is instrumental to our lifelong happiness and success. Reading social cues are invaluable and pretend play hones this skill. There is no substitute for creative and imaginative play when it comes to teaching and enhancing these abilities in children.

Albert Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” While I don’t think that she’s unravelling the mysteries of the universe (not yet anyway!) I can really see her learning through playing. Or maybe she’s just shouting “Mix, mix, mix!”

If you’re interested in reading a bit more (and by that I mean a whole lot more!), here is a link to a review of the evidence on pretend play that was published by the American Psychological Association.


3 thoughts on “Let’s Pretend!

  1. Great post! You’re right too, about playing mummy and daddies/doctors and nurses – our little one had her injections a few months ago and she often refers back to it and pretends to give us injections and explains why we have them. It’s because she’s been exposed to it and is replicating the behaviours. I know that her doing that, she is showing that she’s accepted it, even though she hated it. We love pretend play here too 🙂


    1. It’s a lovely way to watch them explore isn’t it! I’ve always been surprised at how brilliantly Darcey does it- especially since she’s on her own at home. I guess the same with Willow. But it shows that we all aren’t worried about making ourselves look a little bit silly!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not at all, I’m forever being asked to make silly faces and fart sounds – just you wait, 3/4 years old Darcey will find farts hilarious! I think as a parent, you can’t have any hold ups or stage fright, so to speak, your kids rely on you to be the best and they rely on you to show them that it’s okay to be a little silly, and that things that make us laugh are okay 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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