Have you noticed children pretend to talk like different characters from a movie or like people at home? They put themselves in a situation like they are someone else, this is called pretend play or roleplay.
My little girl engages herself in many different characters, she would pull out her easel and splash paints, to be an artist, wear a princess dress and rule a kingdom, open her doctor set and treat patients or build townships with lego and call herself an architect or pick her magnifying glass and problem solve as a detective or cook up a salad bowl from her pretend kitchen to be a chef.
If you carefully pay attention and be a part of the play, you will see the fine details in planning, organising communicating, problem-solving, emotional skills exhibit to their highest potential. It's not just cutting fruits in a bowl, they will first set up their kitchen and talk to you about the menu or what is available in the kitchen. They will ask you, what do want to eat? similarly, pretend to cook in the kitchen like a chef with pots and pans and the little noises while washing and cooking. The best part is they will serve it to you and wait for you to bite and share your review. Roleplay is not a simple fun activity for children, there is a lot of developmental skill, children engage and learn.
Here are the benefits of roleplaying in the early years:
Builds confidence: Roleplay is an unstructured activity, children choose and create their own play, this independent play boosts the morale of the child.
Creative communication: pretend play provides room to build communication skills. Children, during roleplay, have discussions, storytelling, singing and dancing which leads to creative communication skills.
Problem-Solving skills: this unstructured play, helps children to create solutions, come up with new ideas and if they share the space in a school environment they learn to take turns and pick roles to participate in the play.
Real-life situations: this kind of play allows children to experience and relate to real-life situations. They connect to real-life seniors while they act and understand the world around them.
Social-emotional skill: Roleplay provides an opportunity and supports children to develop their emotional skills by expressing their ideas and feelings in a safe and fun environment.
So the next time, when you see your little one engaged in play on their own, join and see the magic happen! They grow every day and don't stay little for long, so enjoy every play with your child.
Josephine Kiran Raj