Whether it’s dressing up as a doctor with a little white coat and a stethoscope or wearing an apron and pretending to be a chef, we have probably all witnessed the children in our lives use their imagination while they play. Some are surprised to find out that while this type of play is fun for children, imaginative play, or dramatic play, is beneficial to their development. When children take events they witness in the world around them and incorporate it into their play, it helps them understand it and make sense of it. Also, creating a fictional scenario to act out helps children expand their cognitive development by using their imagination and creativity.
Dramatic play not only stimulates cognitive development in children, but it teaches them language and social skills as well. When children act out something they have witnessed or read in a book, they are using language they may not use every day. This expands their vocabulary after repeated use. The social environment provided by role-playing in dramatic play creates a need for children to learn problem-solving skills. Since children often engage in play which requires roles in groups, if a conflict occurs, a solution or compromise must be settled on in order for the game to continue.
There does not have to be an expensive or extravagant setup for the dramatic play area to be engaging for children. Even just having an open area and access to some everyday items such as scarves, gloves, hats, blankets, or cardboard boxes could allow the child to dress-up and imagine themselves in another role. Although the space and props are beneficial to the play, the most important aspect to contribute to your child is to be present and involved. Asking questions, engaging with them through the process, and even acting out the scene with them are all ways to show your interest!
Rasmussen College has much more interesting and important information on the benefits of dramatic play in their article. To learn more, visit: