Water truck play

A look into symbolic and pretend play

Fri, August 21 2020

Do you wonder about what your child gets up to and who they are choosing to play with in the outdoor space at school?

Being outside provides opportunities for different types of outdoor play which are all important and essential experiences in supporting the overall development of the child.  Play "provides opportunities to learn as they discover, create, improvise and imagine" (EYLF,  DEEWER, 2009 P.15)

This week we would like to share some hidden insight into symbolic and dramatic/pretend play.

Symbolic and dramatic play involves acting out, role-playing and improvisation by children to examine their world. The ball becomes the baby and the child is pretending to give birth. When children act out experiences such as the coming of the baby, they assign themselves roles to act out. Acting out roles is a great stepping stone in learning to self regulate, learn social skills, and to be imaginative. Dramatic play also promotes abstract thinking. When the ball represents a baby bump, the child is learning to think using symbols. In pretend play, children use words and phrases that we didn't know they knew - they are developing their vocabulary and skill,  helping the adult learn more about their language development.

Pretend pregnant play


Other types of outdoor play that children particularly enjoy, and which you are likely to have witnessed, are

  1. Creative play - making and decorating a Christmas tree
  2. Construct play - the quarry
  3. Motor / locomotor play - here comes the truck
  4. Cooperative, constructive, physical and expressive play all in one.

You too can watch, listen and learn from your child's play. What new words and phrases have they acquired? What situations are they acting out and repeating? What do you observe they are learning from their play?  

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