Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ten Commandments of Dramatic Play in the Home

The Ten Commandments of Dramatic Play in the Home

First, be your child’s playmates — this is most effective when your children are young. However, let your child be in charge.

Second, if your child is older (more than 4 years of age), arrange a play date so that they can support each other’s dramatic play.

Third, play along if your child creates an imaginative playmate. Usually this playmate has a character which complements theirs. However, draw a line and be firm when your child starts to do something ‘naughty’ and blame this on her imaginative friend.

Fourth, do not intervene with your child’s play. Let their imagination flow.

Fifth, do not interrupt the play even when it’s time for your ‘child-turned-caveman’ to have lunch. Your child can always have lunch in his ‘cave’.

Sixth, provide a space in your home for imaginative play even if this means that your home will not look like a ‘designer home’ for a while. For instance, let your child transform the dining room table into a cave, or let her connect all the coffee and side tables and transform them into a tunnel.

Seventh, read a lot to your children and take them to as many places as you can. After reading, ask stimulating questions to your child, for instance, “What would you do if you were a …..?”. These will provide them with more experience more ideas for pretend play.

Eighth, when searching for a preschool for your child, investigate whether the preschool will support imaginative play.

Ninth, for older children, consider involving them in theatrical productions or puppet movies.

Tenth, provide your children with many toys which support imaginative play.

Source: Best Child's Toys of Texas and Dramatic Play at WordPress

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Play Across Ages

How is Dramatic Play Different in Children of Different Ages?
Serena’s brother Stanley is two and a half years old. His favorite place to play is the sandbox. He spends long periods of time peacefully pouring, sifting and digging in the sand. Recently he has begun to imitate a large construction machine that has been used in a road- widening project near Mrs. Conklin’s house. Stanley’s play begins when he assumes a position on all fours in the sandbox. Stanley uses his right arm and hand as a slow-moving, rhythmical shovel. As he digs he makes noises that are uncannily like those made by the machine he has observed. Occasionally he sits back on his heels and wipes the back of his hand across his brow. Mrs. Conklin tries to offer him a drink of water at these "breaks" and to inquire about the progress of the work. In this way Stanley learns that his efforts are important and worthy of respect.
While Stanley digs, two four year olds in another part of the yard are engaging in yet another form of dramatic play. After arranging some small plastic dolls in a shoe box one says to the other "No honey. I’ll drive the children to the doctor. You have to go to work now!" and she drives the shoe box car across the lawn.
Mrs. Conklin’s five-year-old son particularly enjoyed a family camping trip over the summer. When he and his six year- old cousin are together they beg Mrs. C. for a tent, which she provides by throwing an old sheet over the picnic table and anchoring the edges with logs. "They take all kinds of things in there to use as sleeping bags, blocks for flashlights, pretend food, and other blocks for "firewood". Sometimes they invite the younger children in for a pretend supper around the campfire. At other times Mrs C. encourages the play by suggesting that she serve snack at the "camp".
Children over the age of five continue to enjoy dramatic play, sometimes inventing elaborate games that continue for days or weeks. They may also use puppets or paper cutouts to enact stories or put on simple plays (which occasionally go on for a longer time than adult audiences might wish!). In their play they become everything from astronauts to ballerinas.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Reconstructing Life Experiences

Kudos to New Creations Preschool who understands the value of dramatic play. In their article they state:

"...[A] favorite area for a lot of kids is our Dramatic Play Center. This area provides dress-up clothing, housekeeping materials, a doctor kit, a birthday party kit, and such things as pizza/restaurant props.
While you may think the kids are just playing and having fun here, they are developing important skills in many areas—language, social, emotional, motor, and cognitive. In “What are the benefits of dramatic play in early childhood,” Jennifer Streit sites how each of these areas benefit. She also points out that the Association of Childhood Education International (ACEI) states that dramatic play is imperative to a child’s growth in all areas of learning and cannot be replaced by adult instruction.
Dramatic play is the child’s way of reconstructing and reenacting his/her life experiences.  Their play shows us how they think our world works. Children also express their feelings of frustration and anxieties through role playing, which they may not express through conversation with an adult."

Friday, March 9, 2012

Reality vs. Fantasy

When children become immersed in play, it may seem as if they can't tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Have you ever wondered if your child's imaginary playmate was real to your child?

Dramatic play...allows children to differentiate between real and pretend. This is readily apparent when observing children using exaggerated voices to signal that they are playing their roles or in the child that announces, "It's just pretend." It may seem as though a child who has spent several hours engaged in dramatic play has just been "playing around" and has nothing concrete to show for it. On the contrary, the kind of play where a child takes on a role, and learns to interact from within that role, is very valuable to her development.

Source: Leap Frog