The ability to role play for kids comes naturally to some. But for others it can be difficult and awkward to interact and play comfortably, especially if there are issues of self-esteem, shyness and a lack of social skills. Role play can be as simple as pretending to be your favorite hockey player during a game or a more complex interaction between a number of kids. It fuels imagination, creativity and the result is mentally and physically healthy kids. It is an important activity for developing interactive and social skills in all kids. It is our job to encourage it and provide the tools necessary for imaginative role play. Creating a healthy balance for growth is the combination of physical and creative play.
You will notice that when kids first start to role play they will try to imitate grown up situations such as playing house or trying to be like mom and dad by pretending to cut the lawn. If you are trying to encourage your kids to experiment with role play there are several ways that you can do this.
Probably the most important thing a parent can do is to encourage role play by being actively involved and interacting. Not all the time, of course, but sometimes you need to get the ball rolling.
It’s never too early to start encouraging role play. It is a great tool for developing communication skills as kids try to use words and phrases that they have heard others use. In a game setting they also need to learn how to listen to others and react in the appropriate manner. Verbal communication skills are even developed through the use of imaginary friends and animals.
Kitchen play sets for kids have long been a way of encouraging interactive role play. It is an activity that kids are familiar with, having watched mom and dad cook, set the table and clean up. Having a collection of themed toys (Star Wars For Example) or a doll house will encourage the physical development and the pretend play can develop a child’s gross and fine motor movements. Setting a table in a playhouse will develop hand eye coordination as well as motor skills.
Creating an area in the house or yard that is filled with an assortment of different toys and things that can be used for costumes and props is a good start. Accessories will be used in more elaborate ways once the kids begin to grow creatively. They will improvise and use their imaginations to use objects in different ways. Like pretending that a skipping rope is a fire hose or a leash for their imaginary elephant. Providing the tools is your job and then it’s time to get out of the way and enjoy what develops.
Role play can seem like a very simple and natural activity but it is actually one of the best ways for kids to learn physical life skills and interaction with others.
Encouraging physical play in the fresh air and in the great outdoors is essential for good health. Balancing your child’s activities to include creative activities like imaginative role play between the ages of two and six will help to ensure that they have the necessary physical and social skills for the coming school years.