The Importance of Dramatic Play

Last week we talked about the importance of play, and what it means to children.  Today we are going to focus specifically on dramatic play. A dramatic play area will include a variety of objects from baby dolls, to kitchen toys, food, a table, costumes, masks and much more. Dramatic play is any type of play that takes a child “away” from where he is currently and encourages him to make believe.

Here are just a few ways children learn while being involved in dramatic play!

Social and Emotional Skills

  • Dramatic play teaches children to negotiate roles and cooperate with others.
  • By recreating real life experiences, children can learn how to cope with fears or worries they may have.
  • Dramatic play teaches children to have more empathy for others because they have “pretended” to be someone else for a period of time.
  • Children learn how to control their impulses during dramatic play.

Physical

  • Dramatic play can enhance a child’s fine motor and gross motor skills.
  • Children who are pretending to be a super hero may run and fly around the room.
  • Children who are playing mommy or daddy will be dressing their babies.
  • Children playing in the kitchen will be learning to work with smaller objects.
  • Cleaning up requires good eye-hand coordination and visual discrimination

Language

  • Children playing in a dramatic play area will be speaking to each other and using words to describe what they are doing.
  • Children learn to ask questions and find words to fit the role they are portraying.
  • Vocabularies grow as they use new words that fit the “world” they are playing in.

Cognitive

  • Children playing make believe are using their creativity to recreate past experiences, and to make up new ones.
  • They learn to set tables, give change (cash register), dial telephones, and feed babies all while playing.
  • Children learn to share ideas, and how to solve problems by working together in dramatic play.

Dramatic play helps children engage in learning and real life. Dramatic play increases a child’s understanding of the world they live I, while helping them develop skills that will last a lifetime. If you walk into your child’s classroom and see kids “just playing”, remember they are learning while they play. I hope this peek into how children learn through dramatic play has helped you understand how children learn while doing what they do best-playing!

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